Summary: In baptism we choose to identify with Jesus - with all that that means. Today is the BEGINNING of Ellie’s journey of faith. We as the Church want to ACCOMPANY her on that journey in PRAYER. And it is our prayer is that she will TAKE UP her baptismal v
Talk: Ellie’s Baptism
Story: In her famous book and film, “The Hiding Place” Corrie ten Boom tells the story of a Dutch Christian family - her family, who had a heart for the Jewish people
Her grandfather Wilhelm started a weekly prayer group in 1844 in the city of Haarlem, near Amsterdam for the salvation of the Jews.
And this weekly prayer meeting continued uninterrupted until 1944 - when the ten Boon family were sent to a concentration camp - for helping Jews to flee from the Nazi persecution in Holland
Corrie tells a curious story about her father Caspar ten Boon.
When the Jews were forced to wear the “Star of David,” Casper lined up for one.
He wore it because he wanted to identify himself with the people for whom he and his family had been praying for all those years.
He was prepared to be so completely identified with the Jews that he was willing to wear a sign of shame and suffer persecution for the sake of the people he loved.
He didn’t HAVE to wear the Star but chose to.
And in the same way, Allan and Paula have brought Ellie here for baptism not because they HAD to - but because they want to identify with Christ’s Church here on earth
They also want Ellie to grow up as a Christian too
Baptism is not simply a sprinkling of water on a baby’s forehead. Rather it is all about identifying with and living the Christian life.
In our reading this morning. Paul by now an old man could look back on his life and say
“I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race and have remained faithful” (2 Tim 4:7)
The key to the Christian life is not just the beginning but completing the course.
Sir Francis Drake’s prayer goes to the nub of it:
“O Lord God, when you give to your servants to endeavour in any great matter - grant us also to know that it is not the beginning but the continuing of the same to the end until it is thoroughly finished which yields the true glory…” -Sir Francis Drake (1540-1596)
The Christian life is a great matter – and Allan and Paula have given Ellie a good start this morning by bringing her here for baptism
We too as the Church have welcomed Ellie into the Church
But it is Ellie’s parents and family that will have the responsibility of bringing them up in the Christian faith
So there are three aspects to the baptism that I’d like to look at today..
1. We need to Pray
2. The Nature of the Christian faith and
3. The commitment to bring up Ellie up in the Christian faith
1. Our commitment to pray
All of us can pray for Ellie. We can pray for her to take up her Baptismal vows made here today when they are old enough.
Story: My aunt Molly was a Roman Catholic nun and she used to pray regularly that I and others in my family would become Christians.
For 17 years her prayers appeared unanswered, until at the beginning of Jan 1972, I became a Christian. Later on my sister Sue also became a Christian.
I would like to encourage you to pray. Prayer is extremely important because God has chosen to work through prayer.
Our prayers are something precious to God
Being a Christian is not something we do in isolation.
We need one another to keep going – to support each other in the faith
2. What is the nature of the Christian Faith to which Ellie has been committed?
Vows have been made today on behalf of Ellie. In them we have spoken about
i. Renouncing the works of evil and
ii. Turning to Christ
We live in a Post Christian culture, where to be a Christian is to swim against the current
The essence of the Christian faith is this:
1. We have a broken relationship with God in our natural state. We call it sin – our wrongdoing. And this has separated us from God.
2. But the Good News is that Jesus died on the Cross to reconcile us with God.
The penalty of sin was death but Christ has died in our place to free us from that sentence of death and give us life.
Story: A Korean Pastor told me this story some years ago, when he came to Switzerland.
In the 4th century AD in Korea a man had two sons. The elder rose to become Chief Justice in the land and the younger became an infamous bandit.
The elder brother loved his younger brother but was unable to persuade him to change his ways.
Eventually the younger son was caught and brought before his brother, the Chief Justice.