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:
Mark 16:15-16 (NLT)
And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. 16 Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned.
When we are baptized, we are being obedient to our Lord’s Commands. This in turn creates a heart attitude that yearns to see God’s Will done in all that we do.
To live the Baptized Life is to draw back to this marking point that stated: I have submitted myself in obedience to Jesus’ Lordship, and this is my lifetime commitment.
2. Baptism & the Death of the Old Man
Romans 6:1-4 (NIV)
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2 By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
Here Paul is writing to a people who were struggling with sin and what he is doing is he is reminding them of their baptism.
Specifically, he is reminding them that when they were baptized they symbolically participated in the death of Christ. Because they have been “buried with him through baptism” now they “too may live a new life.”