Summary: Look at Jesus command to Go and Baptize.
Everyone who has ever been baptized (which I would guess is a percentage of this room) has a baptism story. You can remember the place, the time, if not the year. My dad was a church planter and we were meeting in a school, so we borrowed other churches baptistries until we had our own building. I was baptized at the Highland Park Christian church on a Sunday Afternoon with my brother and sister.
I especially like talking to older people about their baptisms---because most of them involved creeks, or rivers, or ponds.
Our baptism is a very special thing to us—rightly so. It’s why we put more time into the design and structure of this part of our building than any other part. It’s where it happens.
A few weeks ago we started this journey of looking at the Great Commission.
Matt 28—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.”
We are pulling the Greatest Parts out of the Great Commission.
Week 1-the Greatest need---obedience
Last week---the greatest direction---Go
To day—the Greatest Connection---baptism.
There is an old saying—we should practice what we preach. This morning I want to flip that around and preach what we practice. If you have been here long you have seen a baptism on a Sunday. Someone in this pool, confessing they believe that Jesus is God’s son and they are put under the water.
Jesus—started his ministry with getting baptized in Matt 3, and ended his time on earth by telling us to go baptize. As we track the early church we see that baptism was a part of the faith, disciple making process.
In Mark 16, in the commissioning passage, Jesus aid, “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”
Believe what??? The good news—that Jesus, God’s son came to earth to fulfill the Justice requirement for our sin---death. And that he conquered death and rose again---and we can expect victory by being connected to the Cross and that sacrifice. And the connection given as a gift to us, is the gift of baptism.
One of Jesus teaching methods was to say something to his disciples---something they did not understand at the moment—but would later have one of those beautiful ‘aha’ moments. That was the case in John 3 with nicodemus. He came seeking Jesus at night. Jesus told him, “No one can enter the kingdom of God unless he is born of water and the Spirit.”
Nicodemus even ask Jesus—how can this be??? Jesus does not tell him.
But what a joy for Nicodemus later-----what an aha moment---to understand he had been given a preview, a glimpse into the plans for the future kingdom—the church.
Now---I know, depending on your heritage, and family history, even the word baptism could mean something completely different to you then it does to me.
You’ve heard the old saying---Practice what you ??? preach.
This morning I want to preach what we practice.
In all things---it’s our practice to go to the Bible. We don’t use anything else as authority—starting with the words of Jesus and on through the directions given by the apostles.
So—I this morning----I want to answer some of the most often asked questions about this greatest of connections---baptism.
Question #1----What Does Baptism mean??
This is a multiple part answer.
a. It is a cleansing. 1 Peter 3:21 says, “and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also—not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
Baptsim is a cleansing---inner not outer. It is a recognition that sin has marked us—and there is nothing we can do about it---but the blood of Christ can cleanse that sin. Erase it from us. Baptsim is the connection to that blood. Nothing special about the water—we don’t ship it in from the Holy Land or anything.
Baptsim is a cleansing on the inside.---
You see man does not need a little religion---we need a complete regeneration—a recreation and that can only be done by God. Jesus dying on the cross made that available for us.
When Saul, who later became Paul the apotle, was in Damascus, blinded by the great light of God speaking to him. God sent Ananias to instruct him. In acts 22, Paul telling the story gives Ananias words “Now what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name.”