Summary: It is not the water that washes away our sins; it is the Spirit of God. Baptism is important as the sign that one has been justified by faith and as the public declaration of one’s faith in Christ and membership in a local body of believers, it is not the
Opening illustration: One Sunday, a pastor was giving a sermon on baptism and in the course of his sermon he was illustrating the fact that baptism should take place by sprinkling and not by immersion.
He pointed out some instances in the Bible. He said that when John the Baptist baptized Jesus in the River Jordan, it didn’t mean in - it meant close to, roundabout, or nearby. And again when it says in the Bible that Philip baptized the eunuch in the river, it didn’t mean in - it meant close to, roundabout, or nearby.
After the service, a man came up to the minister and told him it was a great sermon, one of the best he had ever heard, and that it had cleared up a great many mysteries he had encountered in the Bible. "For instance," he said, "the story about Jonah getting swallowed by the whale has always bothered me. Now I know that Jonah wasn’t really in the whale, but close to, roundabout, or nearby - swimming in the water. Then there is the story about the three young Hebrew boys who were thrown into the furious furnace, but were not burned. Now I see that they were not really in the fire, just close to, roundabout, or nearby - just keeping warm. But the hardest of all the stories for me to believe has always been the story of Daniel getting thrown into the lions’ den. But now I see that he wasn’t really in the lions’ den, but close to, roundabout, or nearby - like at the zoo. The revealing of these mysteries have been a real comfort to me. Now I am gratified to know that I won’t be in Hell, but close to, roundabout, or nearby. And next Sunday, I won’t have to be in church, just close to, roundabout, or nearby. Thanks. You have really put my mind at ease.
Today some have distorted and diluted God’s Word in such a way as to please their flesh and others that the completeness in Christ is lost. Let us turn to Colossians 2 and check out how one can have completeness in Christ.
Introduction: Those who walk in the way of the world, are turned from following Christ. We have in Him the substance of all the shadows of the ceremonial law. All the defects of it are made up in the gospel of Christ, by his complete sacrifice for sin, and by the revelation of the will of God. To be complete, is to be furnished with all things necessary for salvation. By this one word “complete,” is shown that we have in Christ whatever is required. “In him,” not when we look to Christ, as though he were distant from us, but we are in him, when, by the power of the Spirit, we have faith wrought in our hearts by the Spirit, and we are united to our Head. The circumcision of the heart, the crucifixion of the flesh, the death and burial to sin and to the world, and the resurrection to newness of life, set forth in baptism, and by faith wrought in our hearts, prove that our sins are forgiven, and that we are fully delivered from the curse of the law. Through Christ, we, who were dead in sins, are quickened. Christ’s death was the death of our sins; Christ’s resurrection is the quickening of our souls. The law of ordinances, which was a yoke to the Jews, and a partition-wall to the Gentiles, the Lord Jesus took out of the way. When the substance was come, the shadows fled. Since every mortal man is, through the hand-writing of the law, guilty of death, how very dreadful is the condition of the ungodly and unholy, who trample under foot that blood of the Son of God, whereby alone this deadly hand-writing can be blotted out! Let not any be troubled about bigoted judgments which related to meats, or the Jewish solemnities. The setting apart a portion of our time for the worship and service of God, is a moral and unchangeable duty, but had no necessary dependence upon the seventh day of the week, the Sabbath of the Jews. The first day of the week, or the Lord’s day, is the time kept holy by Christians, in remembrance of Christ’s resurrection. All the Jewish rites were shadows of gospel blessings.
How are we complete in Christ?
1. Flesh-less Circumcision
(a) Circumcision of the body of sins
That is, in renouncing the deeds of the flesh, or becoming holy. The word “body,” here, seems to be used with reference to circumcision. In that ordinance, the body of the flesh was subjected to the rite; with Christians, it is the body of Sin that is cut off.