Summary: A sermon which stresses the grace and love of God.
“Remember You are Baptized!”
By: Rev. Ken Sauer, Pastor
Grace United Methodist Church,
Soddy Daisy, TN
A minister friend of mine, in Virginia, once told me that as a kid before he would go off on some overnight, or to a party and then later when he left for college his mother would call after him, “Johnny, remember. You are baptized!”
This is what made John special.
This is what gave John self-worth!
He was baptized.
And this had a great impact on John’s life and on the life decisions he would make.
John heeded his mother’s plea to remember that he had been baptized…
…that God had claimed John as God’s very own…
…and this made all the difference in the world to John!
And although John was baptized as an infant, he can tell you without blinking an eye the date, and place of his baptism.
I think that’s pretty cool.
For me, I used to think it was a bit silly when someone would say, “Remember your baptism and be thankful.”
I would think to myself, “Remember my baptism? I don’t remember my baptism. I was only a couple month’s old!”
It wasn’t until I was at my first Annual Conference as a United Methodist Minister…
…when I was finally doing what I had been called to do all my life…
…that the call to “remember your baptism and be thankful” made sense to me for the very first time!
And oh, how thankful I was and ever shall be!!!
Do you remember your baptism?
If you were baptized as a baby, you probably don’t.
But I bet that if you were baptized as a baby you have some pretty early memories which have something to do with your baptism.
You probably remember entering the church that your parents took you to every Sunday and maybe some other days during the week.
Maybe you remember glimpses of some faces of the people who smiled at you and caused you to feel loved and important.
You might remember some Sunday school teachers who taught you about the Bible.
There may even be some snippets from some sermons you remember.
We celebrate infant baptism because we believe that baptism is something God does for us, not something we can do for ourselves.
It involves the grace that goes before us…John Wesley called it prevenient grace.
We believe that God is working in our lives from the time we are born to bring us to the point in our lives where we will accept God’s free gift of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ for ourselves.
We must come to a time of decision.
But God decides to love and accept us right from the beginning!!!
For many of us, our baptism was our first initiation into God’s Church…
…the beginning of the most amazing journey!
And it is the foundation upon which our lives are built.
For in Christ we are never homeless…
…we are always surrounded by God’s grace and love.
A couple years ago, a colleague of mine said, “children without a Christian upbringing must feel like orphans.”
What would it feel like to be a child who is never surrounded by a compassionate community who believe in God’s unconditional and unmerited love?
This past week I was sitting on the porch as Mary Ellen played in the backyard.
We have a metal yard ornament which is the Cross and Flame logo of the United Methodist Church.
I watched as Mary Ellen came upon this thing in our yard for the very first time.
And as she did, her face lit up and she called out to me: “Daddy, look, The Methodist Church!”
And then she walked up to that Cross and Flame and she put her little arms around it and she kissed it!
Mary Ellen is only 2 ½ years old…but she understands love.
When she kissed that Cross, she was kissing you folks!!!
She was kissing the people who are the living examples of Christ in her life.
She was kissing you folks, through whom she knows a love that is unconditional and overwhelming!
Some children think that Jesus Christ is just a swear word!
No wonder we live in such a graceless and cruel society!
No wonder Jesus Christ has given us the Great Commission which is to go and make disciples of all nations baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything Christ has taught us!!!
We cannot know the love of God until we experience it for ourselves.
God is the One Who initiates that love, and the Church is the Body of Christ called to live out that love on earth.
We do not believe that infant baptism saves us.