Summary: This is a description of the meaning of Baptism and a call to be baptised
Easter Baptism Easter, 2004
Show the story of Easter – From the Gospel of John film
What does it have to do with me?
My dad went to see The Passion on the Christ, as he has leaving the theatre, he passed two teenage boys. The one boy said to the other, “I don’t get it.” The other responded, “The guy died, eh!”
There might be people who hear the story year after year and don’t get it like these two boys – he died, yes! & he rose again! Yes! But it is not just a historical fact – his death and resurrection have everything to do with my life and my relationship with God right now.
Romans 5 (MSG)
12You know the story of how Adam landed us in the dilemma we’re in -- first sin, then death, and no one exempt from either sin or death. 13That sin disturbed relations with God in everything and everyone, but the extent of the disturbance was not clear until God spelled it out in detail to Moses. So death, this huge abyss separating us from God, dominated the landscape from Adam to Moses. 14Even those who didn’t sin precisely as Adam did by disobeying a specific command of God still had to experience this termination of life, this separation from God. But Adam, who got us into this, also points ahead to the One who will get us out of it.
18Here it is in a nutshell: Just as one person did it wrong and got us in all this trouble with sin and death, another person did it right and got us out of it. But more than just getting us out of trouble, he got us into life! 19One man said no to God and put many people in the wrong; one man said yes to God and put many in the right.
20All that passing laws against sin did was produce more lawbreakers. But sin didn’t, and doesn’t, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it’s sin versus grace, grace wins hands down. 21All sin can do is threaten us with death, and that’s the end of it. Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah, invites us into life--a life that goes on and on and on, world without end.
Jesus’ death and resurrection puts us back in right relationship with our creator. When Peter explains this on the Day of Pentecost in Jerusalem, the people were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?"
38Peter replied, "Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off--for all whom the Lord our God will call." – Acts 2:38-9
The way that we step into Adam’s sin is just to be born – we can’t get away from it. The way that we step into Jesus’ removal of that sin through his death and resurrection is to repent and be baptized.
This is one of the reasons that we love to Baptize people on Easter Sunday – because the two are so intricately connected.
These days the normal way to accept Jesus sacrifice for our wrongs and his rule over our lives is to pray a prayer of confession repentance and acceptance, usually with another Christian. In the Bible you prayed the prayer and were baptized at the same time!
The way that they became separated was when the Roman emperor Constantine became Christian, it became fashionable to be Christian, whether you believed or not. So the leaders of the church became reluctant to baptize people until the saw some evidence of a changed life.
So if you’ve accepted Jesus, and not been baptized, you may wonder if you are ready to be baptized. The reality is that if you are following Jesus, you are ready! Baptism is not for advanced, really “holy” Christians. It is for all those who believe! Because of the separation of the accepting and baptism in our current way of doing things, you could compare it to engagement and marriage – you get engaged by privately pledging your love and commitment to each other, but the wedding is a public event where you tell all your family, friends and a few strangers that you are in this for life. For those who really want to be married, you want to have as short an engagement as possible. The same with baptism – the time between becoming a Christian and getting baptized should be as short as possible.