This morning we have been celebrating the birth of a child that was called Emmanuel through our gathering together as a church family, our prayers for one another, our financial giving and especially in music.
In recent weeks we have looked at the story of John the Baptist and his call to prepare a way for the lord….
He told the people of the need for repentance for their sins and about an outward sign of that internal change in their lives - baptism.
This morning we are going to look at baptism or perhaps a better word would be to witness a baptism.
The normal theological definition of baptism is an outward and visible sign of the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. Many denominations use the word sacrament as part to the description of the event. A sacrament is a service or a rite which we believe conveys divine grace, blessing or sanctity on the believe that participates in it. The event is a tangible symbol of and intangible reality.
Maybe you are thinking, wow, that sounds like a lot of religious double talk. I don’t mean it to be. The problem is that intangible part.
The reason and meaning is hard enough to define when adults want to come to Christ and search for something to do to reflect the change in their lives.
In our denomination and many others we believe that this is a rite which may be offered to the child of believers and not limited to persons that have a personal faith in Jesus Christ.
Holding this to a readers digest kind of definition, Abraham was instructed to circumcise all the males of his household as a symbol of the covenant with God. This circumcision included foreigners that were slaves and it also included male children that were 8 days old.
I asked some of our children to assist me in setting up for this part of the service as a reminder of Jesus inclusion of children in his ministry. Jesus once said, “Let the children come to me, do not hinder them; for such belongs to the kingdom of God.”
The word for children in that passage is more specifically “babes in arms..” Infants and toddlers, some to mind more that teens.
With each baptism we as a church are reminded that we are in a covenant with God and with the parents to be a church family, to offer a church home and education to the people that God sends.
The church is a place of preparation for sinners.
Prevenient Grace – God comes to us - before we have any desire for God.
Brothers and sisters in Christ:
Through the Sacrament of Baptism we are
initiated into Christ’s holy Church.
We are incorporated into God’s mighty acts
of salvation and given new birth through
water and the Spirit.
All this is God’s gift, offered to us without price.
Katy and Cody are bringing their daughter Emma Katherine …… for Christian baptism.
The pastor addresses parents”
On behalf of the whole Church, I ask you: Do you renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of this world, and repent of your sin?
Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice, and
Oppression in whatever forms they present themselves?