It’s a beautiful sunny day right here at the shores of Lake Michigan! This is the day and the place that the Lord has made for you and me! Praise God?? Rejoice!!
Today is a good day to do a baptism!
But why is it that there are so many differing thoughts about baptism? Some baptize infants; some require baptism for church membership; some sprinkle, some pour, some dunk!
What is going on? Shouldn’t we all be doing baptisms based on the same Bible? Is the Bible the problem?? The Bible is God’s Word! How can the Bible be a problem? The problem is people misunderstanding and misinterpreting the Bible, isn’t it?
There are two major things we need to note about baptism. First, we need to note the importance of baptism in relation to salvation of our souls. Look at the front of the bulletin. Our Scripture of the Week states from 1 Corinthians 1:17….
The Gospel, which is the Good News of Jesus Christ, is more important than baptism! This is because the Gospel is not just any news, it is the Good News from God to everyone! What is this good news from God? Look with me at Romans 5:20-21……..
The good news is God gives and keeps on giving grace! What is grace? Grace is undeserved favor! The good news is God gives us what we don’t deserve.
What do we deserve if we break a law? If you took a bunch of garbage and you threw it out on Lake Michigan and a Police Officer happens to see you, what do you think will happen? There would be consequences to you breaking the law! You will get a fine and you probably have to get wet and pick up the garbage you just threw!
Does God see us breaking His laws?? God sees everything!
God knows we have all sinned against Him and we all deserve God’s judgment now and forever; and sometimes we even have to pick up our own garbage.
The good news is, we don’t have to face God’s eternal judgment if we believe and accept God’s gift of grace, who is Jesus Christ! No matter how much sin we have, God’s grace, His gift, who is Jesus Christ who died on the cross, is SUFFICIENT to cleanse us from ALL our sins! God can handle any sin because He loves us! How do we know God loves us? Think of the most gruesome sin you can think of ….. Jesus took that on the cross so that there can be forgiveness!
Have you truly believed and received Jesus Christ as Savior and God of your life? If you have never done so before, right now is the time to do it, take a moment to close your eyes and pray right now, right where you are…………
Now look at Romans 6:1-7 with me……….
Just because God gives us undeserved favor, should we abuse that favor by continuing to go against Him? Can that really make sense? You receive forgiveness because you believe in Jesus Christ who died for all your sins but then you live as if Jesus didn’t die for sins! Think about this illustration: If you had a pet dog and it died and someone who loves you gave you a brand new live puppy, will you keep taking your dead dog for a walk?
How dead does something have to be in order for it to be dead? Silly question isn’t it? But God said that all our sins were put to death on the cross by Jesus Christ! Sin, like death, is no longer part of a Believer of Jesus Christ!
If you truly believe in Jesus Christ, sin does not belong in your life; sin is dead to you! Let forgiveness of sins and righteousness reign in your life!
Having eternal life and what reigns in our lives on earth are more important than water baptism.
The other thing we need to note about baptism is that there are many types of baptisms according to the Bible. In our passage alone, we can note baptism into Christ and baptism into death! John the Baptist said, "I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me will come one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not fit to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.”
Baptism is mentioned about 100 times in the New Testament but we need to be careful in assuming that they are all about water baptism. Remember that the New Testament was originally written in Greek. The original Greek word for baptism simply meant to submerge and to wash. And so, when we see the word baptism in the New Testament, it is talking about something being submerged or washed. We can note in the New Testament that there are baptisms in water, in the Holy Spirit, with fire, into Christ, and into death. And yes, Jesus was baptized with water by John the Baptist, but Jesus spoke of a special baptism He had to go through; that special baptism was Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection!
1 Peter 3:18-22 states, “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive by the Spirit, through whom also he went and preached to the spirits in prison who disobeyed long ago when God waited patiently in the days of Noah while the ark was being built. In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also-not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God's right hand-with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.”
And so, water baptism is just a symbol of the baptism that saves one from the eternal judgment of God. And what is this baptism that saves our eternal souls? – it is the baptism that Jesus went through: His death, burial, and resurrection. A belief in Jesus Christ is a belief in Jesus Christ dying, being buried, and rising from the dead personally for that Believer in Christ!
Are you a Believer of Christ? – then you died, were buried, and rose from the dead with Christ! This is what it means to be “baptized into Christ”! A Believer in Christ identifies with Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection! This is the Biblical truth: If you’re a Believer of Jesus Christ, Jesus died for you, was buried for you, and rose from the dead for you! Belief is understood by the mind but also must be received by the heart.
If we profess to be Christians, then, Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection should always be in our minds and n our hearts!
And so what good is water baptism? Water baptism symbolizes one’s belief in what Jesus Christ did for them. Water baptism is an outward expression of the baptism that has occurred in one’s mind, heart, and spirit. Water baptism is a public proclamation of one’s belief in Jesus Christ who died, was buried, and rose from the dead personally for them. Why did Jesus get baptized in water?
If you have personally believed with all your mind, heart, and spirit that Jesus Christ, the Son of God, died for you, was buried for you, and rose from the dead for you but you have never proclaimed that belief, I encourage you to consider being water baptized.