Summary: We look at one other command from Jesus' Great Commission
Let’s get to our passage. Turn over to Matthew 28. This passage might be pretty familiar to you, but that’s ok. When you get to Matthew 28, we’ll read verses 19-20. Pay attention to this passage…as it lays the foundation for what we’re studying today. Let’s read our passage for today…again, it’s Matthew 28:19-20.
It says: 19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
We’re nearing the end of our series about making disciples. We’ve gone into great detail about what it means for us to be disciples today…how we should apply the same principles that they did back in biblical times…what our motivation is for making disciples…and how we should implement the instructions that Jesus gave to his disciples as he was about to ascend into heaven.
But there’s one command that we haven’t really touched on yet… his command to “baptize them.” And because this is such a vital component to our making disciples…we can’t finish our series without addressing baptism.
Some people might wonder, “Why baptism?” or “What kind of baptism?” We won’t spend a lot of time on that this morning other than to say…we baptize in order to follow the example set by Jesus in his own life. We baptize because Jesus was baptized and he commands us to baptize as we make disciples. And we baptize by immersion because that’s the kind of baptism that he had nearly 2000 years ago. We don’t need to overcomplicate it because it really is that simple. Jesus set the example for us to follow…and he gave us the command to obey.
*So the question is…what purpose does baptism serve? What does it do for us today? Why should we stress it as an important part of becoming a Christian as we make disciples? What we’re going to talk about this morning will serve as a refresher for what baptism has done for us…if we’ve been baptized…as well as show us what we should tell others about what baptism does for them.
**Let’s start with a basic principle…a basic result of baptism. Because a lot of things happen when you go down into then back up out of the water. One of the things that happens with baptism…is repentance and forgiveness.
Now…one of those…repentance…is done by us. The other… forgiveness…is what is given to us…it’s done by someone else. God. Repentance and forgiveness are what baptism have been about for a long time. Even before Jesus himself was baptized.
Look over at the next page in your bible…at Mark 1:4. There, we read that “John came, baptizing in the desert region and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” There those two words are. He preached a baptism of…repentance…for the forgiveness…of sins. Again, before Jesus was immersed by his cousin, John was already talking about what baptism was and why the people needed it.
Then after Jesus left this earth? It was the same message. It’s what Peter told the crowds in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. When their hearts were cut after hearing his message…and they asked him what they needed to do…what was Peter’s response? He said in Acts 2:38: “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins.”
Now…do you notice something about how both of those passages are worded? There’s repentance…then there’s forgiveness. Repentance has to happen in order for forgiveness to take place. And… as we said just a minute ago…repentance is our part…the forgiveness is God’s.
So if we want God to forgive us…we need to repent and be baptized. What does it mean for us to repent? If you’ve heard sermons on baptism or repentance in the past then you know what it means. Repentance means you turn away from living in sin. It’s that 180* turn, right? Before your baptism, you were living in sin. At the time of your baptism, you turn away from that sin and live instead for God.
Then…when you do that…when you repent…then God will forgive you of your sins. Why do we need forgiveness? Because if our sins aren’t forgiven…if they aren’t removed from us as far as the east is from the west as it’s written in Psalm 103:12, then we will never be worthy of coming into his presence someday. If we are still connected to our sins, it is impossible for us to come near to him. And if we aren’t near to God…we will miss out on heaven. That’s why we need forgiveness.
But again…forgiveness only comes from God. As I said on Wednesday night…you can confess your sins to someone…to a preacher or to anyone else…but they can’t forgive you of those sins. That forgiveness…that removal of your sins…can only come from God. …