Summary: Epiphany 1/ Baptism of Jesus(C) -- The baptism of Jesus reveals he is the Christ. John the Baptist and the Triune God testify to this fact.

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January 11, 2009 --


Luke 3:15-17, 21,22

INTRO: Baptism is a blessed sacrament for every believer in the Christian church. God’s grace takes on a very visible form in baptism. Sins are washed away by the power of God’s word connected with water. This may cause us to wonder why Jesus came to be baptized. Jesus had no sins to be washed away. Jesus lived a perfect life. So, why baptize Jesus? This was also the same question that John the Baptist had.

There are actually a number of reasons that Jesus came to be baptized. First Jesus showed his perfect obedience to his Father’s will. Jesus also revealed his willingness to fulfill everything required in God’s law and everything written in the scriptures. At his baptism Jesus was also revealed as the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed. Jesus was baptized as an obedient, willing, fulfiller of all of the scriptures. "Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him and he will bring justice to the nations" (ISAIAH 42:1).


I. John the Baptist testifies.

II. The Triune God testifies.


A. John the Baptist attracted quite a crowd. The people came from all over to hear and be baptized.

1. Verse 15. Some hoped that John might possibly be the Christ promised long ago. They ask.

2. John answers: “The one coming after me is far more powerful. I am an unworthy servant”.

3. John decreased so that Christ would increase. Verse 16a. None could be more humble.

B. Verse 16b. Jesus would baptize with the Holy Spirit and fire. Can any be immersed in fire?

C. Verse 17. John’s message was harsh. Repent, judgment is close at hand. The Judge is near.

1. Jesus will separate the wheat from the chaff. There is punishment for the unbelievers.

2. Those who deny Jesus, reject him, and do not believe will be separated into unending fire.

D. Baptism, forgiveness, and repentance are the great blessings that our Lord God Almighty gives to us as individual believers and as members of his holy Christian church. Repentance is a vital feature of our Christian living. Repentance is recognizing one’s sins. When the believer recognizes (or admits) his sins, there is sorrow over disobeying God. Repentance consists of a second part. The second part of repentance is knowing and believing that one’s sins are forgiven. Too many today try to add more to repen-tance than necessary. The Lord simply calls the believer to repent. The Lord graciously and freely and once for all provides his forgiveness! "Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord"(ACTS 3:19). Repentance is refreshing from God.

E. Baptize in its definition means “to wash”. There is no place in Scripture where we are told in what manner we are to baptize. The Lord’s simple command is “to wash” or baptize with water and the Word. Some contend there is only one way to be baptized. This simply is not true. Like the Pharisees they are trying to make a command out of God’s gospel. One can be baptized by sprinkling or immersion. Jesus baptized with fire. Are we immersed in fire? This would leave a gruesome, disfigured believer. The fire at Pentecost was only a small flame. Baptism is about God’s grace of forgiveness. "Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word"(EPHESIANS 5:25b, 26). We are never to overlook this fact of Jesus’ love for the sinner.

F. Hell is not a popular topic in normal conversation. Some would try to explain away the punishment reserved for the unbeliever. Others try to deny that a loving God would establish a place of torment. Over and over God’s word is very clear about hell. The punishment of hell is just as real as the bliss of heaven. Man’s denial or rejection will not cause hell to cease to exist. "He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the majesty of his power"(2 THESSALONIANS 1:8,9). Being separated from God forever is the greatest punishment that anyone could ever face.


John the Baptist testifies and confesses Jesus as Christ.


A. Verses 18-20 are not in our text. They tell of John’s preaching the truth. Herod puts John in prison.

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