Summary: A sermon for a Baptismal Service covering how we can get the ’full package’ of Christian intiation and be full-on Christians.

The normal Christian birth. WBC 9.1.05pm.

Baptism of Kate Brown and Clare Fowler. Acts 2:36-41

... Billy Graham had just finished a tour of the Florida East Coast and was taking a limousine to the airport. Having never driven a limo, he asked the chauffeur if he could drive for a while. Well, the chauffeur didn’t have much of a choice, so he got in the back of the limo and Billy took the wheel. He turned onto I-95 and accelerated to about 90 MPH. WHAM! The blue lights of the State Highway Patrol flashed in his rearview mirror. He pulled over and a trooper came to his window. When the trooper saw who it was, he said, "Just a moment, please, I need to call in." The trooper radioed in and asked for the chief. He said, "I have a REALLY important person pulled over and I need to know what to do." The chief replied, "Who is it, not Ted Kennedy again?" The trooper said, "No, even more important." It isn’t the Governor Jeb Bush, is it?" asked the chief. "No, even more important," replied the trooper. "It isn’t the President George Bush, is it?" "No," replied the trooper, "even more important." "Well, WHO in the WORLD is it?!" screamed the chief. The trooper responded, "I don’t know for sure but I think it might be Jesus, because his chauffeur is Billy Graham!"

There are lots of misunderstandings about Christianity¡K baptism!

- one of them is how to actually become a Christian¡K be born into God¡¦s family

o and because of poor understanding people find themselves ¡¥improperly birthed¡¦ (by lousy midwives)

„X ¡¥born again¡¦- but didn¡¦t get the full package

„X stay stunted¡K or just in nappy and never grow into the world changers Jesus meant them to be

„X past comes back to haunt them and pull them down

„X future terrifies them

- or worse still, people kind of pretend to be Christians: nice, church and so on.

o But why pretend to be a Christian when you can actually BE one!

So, tonight, I want to give you the full package. Tell you how you can have a full an invigorating relationship with God

- tell you the ¡¥normal Christian birth¡¦ as it is in the Bible

And baptism is part of that.

¡K. But it¡¦s not the first or main part

Baptism doesn¡¦t MAKE someone a Christian. Save them

- the thief on the cross didn¡¦t have time to get down and get dunked¡K but Jesus said to him ¡¥today¡K ie when you die¡K you will be with me

Baptism is a sign of what has ALREADY happened¡K the normal Christian birth¡K as well as being part of it and a step forward into it

What does Peter tell the crowd? What¡¦s the first step? First he says


David received a parrot for his birthday. This parrot was fully grown with a bad attitude and worse vocabulary. Every other word was an expletive. Those that weren’t expletives were, to say the least rude. David tried hard to change the bird’s attitude and was constantly saying polite words, playing soft music, anything he could think of to try and set a good example... Nothing worked. He yelled at the bird and the bird got worse. He shook the bird and the bird got more angry and more rude. Finally, in a moment of desperation, David put the parrot in the freezer. For a few moments he heard the bird squawking, kicking, and screaming - then suddenly there was quiet. David was frightened that he might have hurt the bird and quickly opened the freezer door. The parrot calmly stepped out onto David’s extended arm and said, "I’m sorry that I might have offended you with my language and action and I ask your forgiveness. I will endeavour to correct my behaviour." David was astonished at the bird’s change in attitude and was about to ask what had made such a dramatic change when the parrot continued - "May I ask - what did the chicken do wrong?"

Man! Do people get this one wrong!

- people immediately think this is talking about poor self image. Feeling dowdy, guilty or grotty about yourself!

o That¡¦s not what the first part of the normal Christian birth is

It¡¦s an acknowledgement that there is a God and that He hasn¡¦t been number one in our lives.

- That we haven¡¦t kept the first commandment to ¡¥love the Lord your God with ALL your heart and soul and mind¡¦

o And so we¡¦ve lived our life forgetting Him¡K and doing it all ¡¥my way¡¦!

o We¡¦re all guilty of that!

And repentance literally means 1) saying sorry 2) turning around and going in the other direction.

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