Summary: This sermon teaches the importance of Baptism by immersion.
“The Value of Baptism.”
Baptism: The need for Immersion by Water
Have you ever known a manager that had a hard time relating to his employees. Maybe he had an office some distance away from where the “real work” went on. How does a manager communicate his dreams and visions for a company when he seems so far removed from the work place. More importantly how do you know what that manager expects of you?
Even for our own children it is sometimes hard to communicate our expectations, because often they interpret what we say in such a way as to fit what they want to hear.
People sometimes see God as a distant manager; of course we know that He is not distant, but very close, even but a heart beat away from us. Yet we often feel His is far away because we cannot see, feel, or touch the physical Christ in a worldly sense. Even if Jesus was to stand physically in our midst, many of us would not change our ways, just as those in Christ day did not heed His words. You see many of us fail to follow the standards of God, instead creating our own standards and rules for life. We rationalize these standards as being what we think God had intended and ignore His Words instead, inserting our own ideas of how things should be done.
Today I want to share with you the value of baptism, not as something to be rationalized away, but an example of the obedience of faith as lived out by Jesus Christ.
First before we got to our text today let us look at this mystical word “baptism.” What does “baptism” mean in plain English.
I. Transliteration or Translation
A. Baptiso Transliterated
-The word Baptism was adopted into the English language from the Greek Language
-The word Baptism is what is called a transliterated word, let me give you an example.
-Yo hoblo poquano espanol.
-For those of you who do not speak Spanish, I simply said; “I speak a little Spanish.”
-or I could say to you; I hablo a little Spanish; hablo being the transliterated word.
-I agape you. Again the transliterated word being agape.
-In that example of the word agape, the word has no equivelant word in the English language.
-The word love does not effectively capture the meaning of agape; yet we do not find agape transliterated.
B. Baptiso Tranlated
-Baptism or Baptiso in the Greek easily translates in the English to immerse, plunge, or dip.
-Let look at a few occurances where Baptiso is translated correctly in scripture.
1. Lazarus and the Richman
“Father Abraham have pity on me and send Lazarus to dip (baptiso) the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this fire.” (Luke 16:24)
“And so he went down and dipped (tabal/baptiso) in the Jordan seven times as the man of God had told him and his flesh was restored and he became clean like that of a young boy.” (2 Kings 5:14)
-tabal in the Hebrew translates to immerse, plunge, or dip
-The Greek translation, the Septuagint, renders the Hebrew word tabal as baptiso
-in fact the Hebrew translation of the New Testament uses tabal where ever the word
baptizo is found.
-the transiliteration of baptiso has no true meaning in our English language and takes on
whatever meaning we associate with it or have learned to apply to it.
-the truth is the Greek has words like kheto to pour and rantzo to sprinkle; yet they are not used in referance to baptism.
-the reason baptism is not properly translated is to accommodate the various modes and human concepts of what baptism means, not what God meant it to be.
-What does baptism mean to you?
II. The Meaning of Baptism
-For each person the transliteration of the word baptiso takes on a different meaning depending on the influence of the church you were discipled in.
A. Ceremonial Meaning
-As a Methodist for me baptiso meant a religious ceremony denoting a life change, whether it be the dedication of an infant or the confirmation of an individual into the Christian life. It involved sprinkling of holy water and the marking of the cross on the forehead with that of water. When ever I read the scriptural accounts in the Bible of Baptism this is the ceremony I envisioned taking place. I knew no other baptism.
B. Faith Only (Spiritual Meaning)
-In response to the ceremonial meaning of baptism a movement was formed that did away with the need for baptism all together or at least made baptism unimportant in the role of salvation. This is the faith only movement.
-Baptism is treated as symbolic of a spiritual transformation and therefore unnecessary.