Summary: I would propose to you that the Lord is not bound to the doctrine of men, but longs for Christians to have Holy Spirit illumination of God’s Word about water baptism.

Title: Publicly Identifying With Christ

Topic: Water Baptism and Your Responsibility

Introduction: The church often struggles under the results of the cancers of traditionalism, legalism, denominationalism, and faddisms. For example, there was a season when certain denominations worked with the state to make laws, “declaring that anyone who accepted adult baptism after being baptized as an infant would be subject to the death penalty.” (The Foundation Series for Youth, Believer’s Baptism; Publish by Brethren in Christ, Writer Owen Alderfer) The secret to overcoming the cancers that afflict the church is to have the spiritual heart that reflects a life that says, "It is not what I want, but what God wants for me." When a person's heart is set on God's heart, that person does not focus on what he or she wants in the baptism celebration ceremony, but their focus is on what pleases God.

Proposition: I would propose to you that the Lord is not bound to the doctrine of men, but longs for Christians to have Holy Spirit illumination of God’s Word about water baptism.

Jesus gave clear instructions to His church, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28: 18-20)

Water baptism was administered by John the Baptist. (Matthew 3:5-12; John 3:23; Acts 13:24) Water baptism was sanctioned by Christ's submission to it. (Matthew 3:13-17; Luke 3:21-22) Jesus adopted baptism into His ministry. (John 3:22; 4:1) Water baptism is the appointed ordinance of the true Christian church. (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16) Water baptism is to be administered in the names of God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 28:19)

Interrogative Sentence: Just what does the Word of God say about Water Baptism? What is the purpose of this declaration? What is your responsibility?

Transitional Sentence: After accepting Jesus Christ as personal Savior and Lord, the sacrament of water baptism is a very important step in the Christian’s life. In Matthew 3:13-17 we read of Jesus being baptized. The Bible says, “…Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter Him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you.’ Jesus replied, ‘Let it be so now, it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” “Righteousness” (δικαιοσύνη dikaiosúnē) here is conformity to all of God’s standards for the believer. (The Complete Word Study Dictionary, New Testament)

Christ is the standard for Christians. Jesus was not being baptized for the repentance of sin, for He never sinned. (2 Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; 7:26) This baptism for Jesus was an ordination, He publicly was fulfilling God’s standard for Him – thus opening the gates of heaven for the Holy Spirit’s empowerment to accomplish God’s will for Him. (Matthew 3: 16; 4: 1-11) Jesus’ baptism forever changed the way His followers would look upon the celebration of the Christian's rite, water baptism.

When we receive Jesus Christ as personal Savoir and Lord, through faith we become children of God, and when you are baptized you are identifying yourself with Christ publicly. (Galatians 3:26-29; Act 10:1-47; Acts 8:26-39) The baptism celebration ceremony is a public proclamation of who you are uniting yourself with. It is like when some kind of ceremony is performed in the exchanging of a wedding ring. There are witnesses to whom you are pledging yourself to. Before a soldier can were the uniform, there is some kind of ceremony performed were the soldier makes a public proclamation of loyalty.

From the earliest time in church history to now, the Body of Christ has used symbols to communicate her faith and life. One of the symbol's of repentance and receiving the new life promised in Christ is water baptism. (Acts 8:36; 10:37) A wedding ring is an outward symbol that a person is married to someone. The person God has given them, to be their partner throughout life down here. The wedding ring is received during a public ceremony of some kind. A military uniform is an outward symbol that a person is involved with a particular branch of service. There are regulations on the wearing and caring for those uniforms. Military personal are expected to wear those uniforms on the appropriate occasions, just as Christians are expected to participate in the act of baptism. The celebration of the Christian’s baptism is a symbolic act saying, “I am dying to self-centeredness and sin-centeredness for the righteousness of God and Christ-centeredness.”

Transitional Sentence: Jesus and His disciples spoke of the importance of baptism. However, the New Testament is not altogether clear as to the mode of this Christian celebration. Baptism ceremonies are performed in fonts, baptistries, in lakes, streams and even the oceans. Christians throughout history have been water baptized through different methods, such as sprinkling, the pouring of water over the head three times, immersion going straight down, forward and backwards. The key significance is that the person has accepted Jesus Christ as personal Savior and Lord by faith. (Acts 18:8; Ephesians 2:8-10) The person to be baptized has in repentance (Act 2:38; 3:19; 17:30) turned from his old life and put on the new one in Christ Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:17-21). The new believer is hungry to be taught the things of God and has asked to be baptized. (Acts 8: 26-39)

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