Summary: New Life with God Sept. 5, 2020 – Brad Bailey

New Life with God

Sept. 5, 2020 – Brad Bailey

A big welcome to all who are joining this morning or who may be watching at a later time. Today is a

special day for the Westside Vineyard. We are holding an outdoor gathering down by the beach. And as a

part of that time... we have the privilege of celebrating some who are choosing to be baptized today in the

ocean. We wanted everyone gathering on our livestream to hear from a couple of them as well... so they

are going to share with you in just a bit.

Baptism is essentially a celebration of new life. As we come to this celebration of new life... I am struck

by the unique dynamic of doing so during a global pandemic. The global pandemic creates a dynamic


The essence of this pandemic is a virus that can bring disease. And because we value the gift of life... we

believe we should be stewards... and are gathering outdoors... and honor one another by minimizing even

the minimal risks of transmission by maintaining some space... covering our mouths and noses when

close to others.

These are ways we can help mitigate the disease. (That’s the way we gather.) But the purpose of gathering

is to allow God to speak to a deeper dis-ease of the soul.

We gather not merely as physical bodies. We are not just biological bodies but rather we are relational


While we may have to cover our noses and mouths... I’m thankful that we can see each other’s eyes. The

eyes are said to be a window to the soul. And I believe that what we see in one another’s eye... we see

something that is not merely chemical compounds. We see more than biology...we see a being... we see

that which bears longings that are more than biological life... longings to be seen and loved. We long to


We long for that which exists beyond us. Because our existence is rooted in that from which it came. Life

came from life. We exists as persons... endowed with thought and wills...because human life bears the

image of its source... the image of God. We sense that we are a part of something bigger than ourselves.

God is infinite...and we are “finite.” Our very finite nature looks beyond ourselves to understand who we

really are. As someone once said...“We were created to look up to God before we look down at ourselves

and the rest of creation.” We cannot find our lives in ourselves because nothing exists merely unto itself.

Everything exists in relationship to its source and purpose. [1]

And as we allow ourselves to listen to those longings ... we can hear the ultimate great news that Jesus

declares... that we can discover that our source... God... loves us so much that he came and took our

separation... that he bore consequences of our declared independence...upon himself... so that we could

have the opportunity to live forever.

He gave his life... to give us his life with God. That is the exchange that baptism represents. In baptism

one is expressing symbolically that in going under the water....they are joining in his death... and in rising

up again...they are joining in his new resurrected life... that lives forever with God.

So a celebration of receiving new life. It is a profoundly personal exchange...but it is never

just personal. Like a marriage in which two individuals give themselves to a covenant relationship... while

it must be is never just personal. Such a commitment is bound within the community that

surrounds them. And that is the privilege we have today... to be that community that recognizes and

surrounds this new covenant that provides new life.

Much could be said... about this new covenant... this new life... but I want to us to recognize three core

truths about this new life.

God speaks these three truths INTO this juncture for each of those getting baptized.

To each who has been baptized in the past... God REMINDS us of these three vital truths.

To those who have yet to receive that life or be baptized...God speaks these three truths as an

INVITATION to that new life.

The first truth God would remind us of is a new life begins through...

1. A New Means

The means to life with God is not based on what we have proven by our own means but what God has

provided. Every human life exists in relationship to the source of life... and has chosen to claim it’s own

independence. Every effort we make to claim we deserve to live with God forever...reflects pride in


It’s interesting that we live in a world that thinks of some people as religious and some as not religious. In

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