Summary: In thinking about the baptisms of Jon & Jenny, which we will witness shortly, I entitled this message, ‘The Day I Died’.
THE DAY I DIED!
I cant forget the first study on baptism that Jon, Jenny and I did together. In that study we were looking at, amongst other things, the baptism of Jesus. You see Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist. And John’s baptism was for those who saw they needed a saviour – it was for sinners seeking rescue. A sinner is simply one whose relationship with God is defective. One that does not love their God or their neighbour in the way they were created to. And sin is simply the fruit of that broken relationship. Well, in considering why Jesus, who was not a sinner – He never had a broken relationship with God, in considering why He underwent John’s baptism we were guided into a rapturous discovery by the Spirit of the Living God.
When Jesus stood in that river He identified with those of us who are sinners (and I am sorry to say that’s all of us) he identified with us to the ultimate. He spoke in an action parable. And this is what He said, ‘I now commence my mission in humble obedience to God my Father. This mission will lead me into the grave for you. I will minister to those there and I will rise again. Watch my baptism it represents great agony for me as I walk the path that will eventually incur the wrath of my beloved Father as I become sin for you. Watch my baptism as it represents great ecstasy as I walk the path that will eventually destroy sins hold on you. Watch as I break the bonds of death and rise from the grave. Watch you people who have proclaimed that you need a Saviour – see your rescuer and how He will accomplish it.’
In thinking about the baptisms of Jon & Jenny, which we will witness shortly, I entitled this message, ‘The Day I Died’.
Jon & Jenny, I want you to listen carefully this morning and know that what you are doing today, publicly proclaims what you are about to hear.
Let all of us pay close attention to what God has to say about this sacred act of baptism.
A little earlier David read for us a portion of Romans chapter 6. If we were to read chapter 5, we would discover there why we find it hard to do what is right – why we sin. You see, we discover in that chapter that we have inherited a rebellious nature. Rebellion comes naturally to us.
Why does a peach tree grow peaches? – because it is a peach tree. So a child of Adam acts like Adam, simply because he/she is a child of Adam. Adam couldn’t do the right thing and nor can we – it’s just part of the nature we inherited from him.
We also read in that chapter how God has provided a way by which our rebellious life may be done away with. This way is through the second Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ. He indwells us by the person of His Holy Spirit, when we recognise Jesus as our own Lord.
We begin chapter 6 with the Apostle Paul asking us a thought provoking question: ‘What shall we say, then? Shall we continue in our rebellious ways so that God’s unmerited favour may increase toward us?’ Paul begins with this question in order to answer it in the negative. He wants to show us that it is totally inappropriate to live with such an attitude. And he helps us understand why we should work with God in becoming more like Jesus.
Primarily Paul reminds us that we cannot live in sin, that is in the fruit of being a sinner, because in Christ the sinner died. In Christ the old Adam is dead. How can we live as if he were still alive and affected by sin? Such would deny our position in Jesus.
Jon and Jenny we’ve heard this morning how you are alive to Christ. Determine to live as people freed from your old nature. For in Christ he is dead!
The baptism that you are about to undertake symbolises what is spoken of here in Romans chapter 6. You see, what we read here refers to baptism by the Spirit. Paul appeals for you to live worthy of God by reminding you of your position in Christ brought about by Spirit baptism (which incidentally happened the moment you trusted in Christ). The baptising work of the Holy Spirit joined you to the Person and work of Christ in such a way that you participated in His work on the cross. You died with Him.
Water baptism doesn’t get you right with God, but it does symbolise being right with Him. When you, in a few moments, are submerged into the baptismal water, you symbolise the fact that you died and were buried with Christ. Just as Christ identified with you in His baptism, you now are identifying with Him in yours.