Summary: A sermon on Matthew 3:13-17- Great for Baptism (Adapted from ideas on

Sermon for 3/17/2002

Matthew 3:16

The 3:16’s of the Bible


A. I have no been smooth with all of my baptisms. Water too cold, too hot, bugs, can get you down until you bubble, etc.

B. One lady wanted to know what she would feel when she was baptized. Minister didn’t know how to answer, varied responses. When he put her under, her body stiffened and her eyes popped open. The look on her face was a mixture of excitement and surprise. And all he could think was "Hey, Lord, How come I didn’t get that!" As he pulled her up from the water, she put her hand on the back of her head; only then did he realize what had happened. He had moved toward one end of the baptistery, and when he had lowered her into the water, he had smacked the back of her head onto the baptistery steps!


A. In our study of the 3:16’s of the Bible, we come to a section on Jesus’ baptism.

B. Introduction of Matthew.

1. First book of the New Testament.

2. One of the gospels. It gives accounts of Jesus life.

3. Matthew was one of the 12. He was a tax collector.

4. Emphasis of Matthew is that Jesus is the Messiah foretold by the Old Testament Prophets. Writing to mainly Jewish readers.

C. Lots of debate about baptism. Most controversial issue. However, we need to get back to the Biblical view.

Thesis: We can begin to understand more about baptism by thinking of it in three ways as illustrated from Matthew 3:13-17.

For instances:

I. Baptism is about beginning anew.

A. John’s baptism was a resolution to begin anew. Forsake sins. As they were baptized they were confessing their sins.

B. Heard John preach on sin and Wanted to make a change so they came and were baptized of John in the Jordan.

C. We make a resolution to change and we seal it in baptism and God comes and gives us a new life.

D. (2 Cor 5:17 NIV) Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone the new has come!

E. The Scriptures says that we put on a new self. We are the same but we are beginning anew.

F. It is like a dry erase board. We draw horrible things on this board and God comes along through faith in baptism and erases those horrible things so that we can begin anew.

G. Two different ways that people view baptism in the church:

1. Baptism is the saving moment in which the person being baptized accepts the love and forgiveness of God. This person is saved. May grow in faith through the years, but nothing that this person will experience after their baptism is as important as the baptism. This person will always be able to recall their baptism as the time when their life was changed. We have no problem with this. However, this approach views baptism as the climax of a life and anything after the climax is not as important.

2. Next view does not disagree with this but just adds more to it. Baptism is the time of God’s love and forgiveness upon a soul. Baptism is a time of change. However, where the first approach isolates the act of baptism as the most important moment, the second approach understands baptism more as a beginning. While it is true that in the waters of baptism God laid claim on our lives, it is also true that we spend the rest of our lives trying to figure out what that means. The first understanding often overlooks the journey that follows baptism. Baptism is the beginning of the journey and the climax of a life, of a soul, is when we reach the end of the journey and when we stand before the throne and Jesus Christ saves us on that day. This is the climax. Baptism is not the climax but only the beginning of a great journey of faith.

H. Baptism too frequently carries the connotation of having arrived. I often hear it from people; "I want to be baptized and be a part of the church as soon as I get my life in order." Of course, if that is what any of us are waiting on, we will never be baptized. None of us will ever have our lives sufficiently in order to be baptized. Baptism is not something we earn, nor is it a sign that we have found all the answers. Nothing could be further from the truth.

I. Baptism is a beginning. It is the desire to see the world differently, to see each other differently, and even to see ourselves differently. Baptism is a fresh start, not a destination. Baptism is not a trial-free membership, but a rite of initiation into a way of life in which Jesus promised there would be trials.

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