Summary: Baptismal sermon urging a bold witness for new Christians.
Tonight we are going to observe the ordinance of Baptism. That is one way that we publicly proclaim Jesus as our Savior and Lord. I recently had someone ask me about a private baptism. There is no such thing. Jesus calls us to openly acknowledge Him. Jesus did everything He could to keep out the half-hearted people. Because He never minimized the cost of discipleship many would be followers left Him. He has been very frank about what He expects of those who do follow Him.
The baptisms we are going to observe in just a few minutes are not an end. They are a beginning. It is a commitment to Jesus Christ to live for Him in a hostile world. The term Christian means "a little Christ." It is a call to display Jesus to the world around us. It is unpopular to take a strong stand on anything today. But that is exactly what we are told to do.
(27) "What I tell you in darkness that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops."
There are some of your friends, co-workers and relatives who don’t mind you going to church. They just don’t want you bringing that stuff out of the church and around them. We are not only to declare the salvation of God through Jesus Christ alone but we are to give His viewpoint about everything. God has a standard. It is to be revealed in the lives and by the mouths of God’s people. God has not desire for secret agent Christians. "Housetops" were the place where many public announcements were made. Invitations to a wedding, announcements of a new birth in the family, and Josephus even writes that it was from a rooftop that he argued and put down a rebellion. Wherever God has place you is your housetop. It is that place from which He expects you to proclaim Jesus with your voice and your life.
Mac Brunson, who recently left FBC, Dallas to pastor at FBC, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. took his 11 year old son to the Ukraine on a mission trip. The son had been gone a long time with an interpreter. When they returned the enterpreter told the story of the son’s witness to a 90 year old man using a track in Ukraine and English. The man said "I have always known there is a God, but I never knew His name. Now I know His name is Jesus." Can God use children like these who are being baptized tonight to proclaim Jesus? He most certainly can. We look at these young children and our expectations are very low. But God looks at these 4 and sees the influence of lives dedicated to Christ at an early age. How many others will see the glory of heaven because of the decisions by these who give their testimony of baptism tonight and give it again over and over through the years wherever God gives them opportunity?
Is it going to be easy to live for Jesus from this day forward? 3 times Jesus told His disciples "fear not." Which seems strange since He had also told them they would be hated, persecuted, arrested and brought before authorities and even betrayed by their own families. But He doesn’t leave it there. He goes on to explain why they and we should not fear to boldly proclaim Jesus as Savior.
A. Because it is a sign you belong to Jesus. (24,25)
"The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above the lord. It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?"
If you have ever wondered what people are going to say or think about you if you openly proclaim Christ, I can answer that question. They will think of you what they thought of Christ. The result of being like Christ is being treated like Christ.
G. Campbell Morgan - The world hates Christian people, that is, if it sees Christ in them.
If Jesus was rejected and crucified by the world, the true Christian understands that he will not be loved and accepted by those same kinds of people. Those who oppose Christ will not welcome you with open arms. But their words and actions toward the one who proclaims Christ binds that person together with Christ.
B. Because in the end you will be proven right. (26)
"Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known."
Confidence that you know the things that all people ought to believe is seen as the essence of arrogance today. When we tell them that we alone hold the key to eternal life. When we tell them that there is a heaven and a hell that are real places. When we tell them that only those who have placed their faith in the Christ who paid for our sin on Calvary will enter the gates of heaven. When we tell them that all of those who reject Jesus as Savior will be eternally separated from God. They will scoff and they will ridicule and they will accuse us of blinded ignorance. Yet we are not to be afraid to speak clearly and openly what Christ has taught us even if it costs us friends, jobs, or popularity. A significant element in the fear of being wronged is the thought that the wrong may never be righted and the truth will never be out. Their rejection is not the last word. The truth you are speaking will triumph. So you can endure their criticism and take comfort in the promise of God. Jesus Christ is the living TRUTH. His Word which governs our lives is the written TRUTH. The TRUTH and those who build their lives on Him are the only ones who will last to the end.