Summary: Our Baptism in water is a confession of the work of Christ in you. Do you realize all that encompasses?
March 22, 2009
Title: The Confession of All Christ Has Done
I read a great story the other day. A man walked into a Baptist church where they were having a baptism service. He had never been in the church before so when he came in he looked for a place to sit and walked up the middle aisle and found a seat close to the front. The preacher preached a great sermon on heaven and hell and had a powerful altar call and the stranger responded and gave his heart to the Lord. Then they told him that since they were baptizing that day that he should be baptized. And he agreed to it. When he came up out of the water he came up shouting, “Hot dog! Hot Dog! Hot dog!” You see, he had never been in church and didn’t know anything about “Amen” or “Hallelujah!” so for him “Hot Dog! Hot Dog! Hot Dog!” was good enough.
I want to share with you today about baptism. In the Bible there are three different kinds of baptisms. 1) is the baptism into Christ. That is what happens when you accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. It is the Holy Spirit that engulfs you and it is the Father who baptizes you into this baptism. The Father now accepts you because of your new relationship with Christ. 2) is the baptism in the Holy Spirit. That is the enduement with power from on high. Jesus is the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit. 3) is water baptism. It is symbolic of the work that Jesus has done in you and is a public confession of that work. Water baptism is not necessary for salvation but is very important. Jesus said that we are to baptize in the name of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit. If you have not been baptized in water according to the Bible pattern I encourage you to do so. The only requirement is that you have accepted Christ into your life.
In Matthew 3:13-17, Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. 14But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
15Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.
16As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. 17And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”
Jesus did not have to be baptized in order to be saved; He knew no sin. But in His baptism He identified with our sinful nature and thus became just like every one of us – except that He never sinned.
Now I want you to see the purpose of water baptism. It is to identify with the total work of Christ in your life that you have chosen to walk in. I want you to turn to Romans 6 with me and let’s see the significance of baptism in your life.
1What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
This is the passage we want to focus on today as we see the results and benefits of the baptism into Christ, which is symbolized, by our water baptism.
I. IN BAPTISM WE ARE DEAD TO SIN. 1What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? What does it mean when we say we are dead to sin? Does it mean that we will never sin again once we are saved? The word sin in the original Greek means, “to miss the mark”. It is a reference to an archer shooting at a target. What our baptism into Christ does is that it enables us to shoot our arrows straighter. It doesn’t make us perfect, but we keep getting closer to the bulls eye. Symbolically speaking, in water baptism when we are submersed in the water we go down to the grave with Christ. We die with Him. Only the dead get buried. 3Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? For us to understand the boldness of this claim we need to look at the things that the death of Christ has accomplished. 1) Romans 4:25, He was delivered over to death for our sins… There was no way that we could ever set ourselves free from sin. Jesus’ death did that. It was His death on the cross that took our sins away. 2) Romans 5:10, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son… the seed of sin passed down through Adam had created a great chasm separating us from God. The death of Jesus built a bridge over that chasm by which we might be reconciled to God. 3) You are set free from slavery. Romans 6:16, 16Don’t you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey—whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? Now, let’s go back to the target analogy. Once you are saved (baptized into Christ) you have what you need to live for Him. That is magnified to a greater extent with the baptism in the Holy Spirit. But in Romans 6:16 Paul gives a warning to Christians. You can either live for Christ or for the devil. You can’t do both partially. It’s either one or the other. Here is what happens to a lot of people. They get saved and they want to live for Jesus. Then they start to remember some of the things from their past that may have given something that resembles satisfaction. So they start pushing the boundaries to see how far they can go before they have gone too far. You parents know what I am talking about because your children have done that. So you cross the line, your arrow starts missing the target, then you cross over another line, and you look around and nobody has noticed and besides everybody else is doing it, and then another and another. The next thing you know you are not even getting close to the target any more. Then you look around to see where God was in all this and you find that He is right back where He was all along and that you were the one who chose to walk away from Him. But you are set free from the bondage that sin has over you. Water baptism says, “I am a new creation in Christ and I confess to you the church that my life has changed.” You are dead. You aren’t trying to do it all on your own, but now the Spirit of the living God that dwells in you has you ready to receive everything that Jesus has done for you. 4) Because we are dead to sin we are free from accusation. Colossians 1:22, But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation… There is still an enemy who is the accuser of the brethren but his accusations are empty words. When God hears those accusations against you Jesus is at the right hand pronouncing you not guilty! 5) Since we are baptized into the death of Christ we no longer have any fear of death. Hebrews 2:14-15, Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—15and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.