Summary: God has called us to be constantly fanning the spiritual flames inside us, and it is up to us to train ourselves to make the Spiritual Disciplines part of our routine, or lifestyle.
Living the Baptized Life
Last week we examined the Spiritual Discipline of Celebrating the Lord’s Table. One of the ways we discovered we do this was by making Communion a “Memorial”; a way of remembering what Jesus has done for us.
Today I want to continue on the idea of remembrance as a means to realize the significance of Baptism.
* Special Thanks to Norayr Hajian for the Excellent Illustration of Marking Points!
ILL. Marking Points
How many people can remember what you were doing on the morning of September 11th, 2001? I can remember quite vividly what I was doing.
There are moments in our lives that become “marking” points in our memory. Some of these moments have little to do with us, but then there are some marking points that are very personal. Some of them, can even become anchors to keep us grounded when things go awry.
I remember all the emotions of that day, and I’m drawn back to the promises I made to God to cherish my loved ones; to live a life more pleasing to God, or to just reach out more to those in need.
Another personal example of a “Marking Point” in my life is the day I felt God clearly call me into the ministry: In the Darien Jungle of Panama. So when the stress and discouragement comes in the ministry, I call my mind back to this “Marking Point” in my life, and I am reminded that it was not man who called me, but God—and until God calls me out, I’m sticking to it.
Why does this matter; because the act of Baptism should be a marking point in the life of every believer.
I think it’s important that we distinguish Marking Points from Turning Points. When someone gets married, his or her love doesn’t just start that day. Weddings are not a turning point in people’s love – but a marking point. Where the commitment was consecrated!
In the same way, getting baptized isn’t a turning point. No one is getting “saved” when they are being baptized. If someone isn’t a Christian before they are baptized, they’re not going to become one because of the act of baptism.
So baptism, as with weddings and ordinations, and even communion, are not so much “turning points” as much as they are “marking points” – an anchor point.
The Marking Point of Baptism reminds us who we are, and what we how we have been called to “Live the Baptized Life”.
Let’s examine what the phrase “Living the Baptized Life” means.
1. Baptism & Obedience
Matthew 3:13-15 (NIV)
Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14 But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” 15 Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.
Jesus is identifying and establishing baptism as a fundamental part of making the lifetime commitment to God by doing it himself! He’s basically making a command for every believer to follow, but making the act of baptism the first step in a believer’s new life towards a lifetime of following after God.
How important is this command? Important enough that Jesus reminded his disciples before ascending back to heaven: