Summary: Jesus’ complete devotion to God
THE WONDER OF HIS BAPTISM
INTRODUCTION TO SERIES:
Today we are starting a new series of messages entitled, “the wonder of it all.” Between now and the Sunday after Easter I want us to look at 8 incidents in the life of Jesus that demonstrate the wonder of His existence while He was here on earth. The incidents we’ve chosen are ones that will give us insight into His character and His priorities. My hope and prayer for this series is two-fold: (1)That through our study you will grow to have a deeper understanding and appreciation for who Jesus is; and (2) That you will be inspired to follow in His footsteps. 1 Peter 2:21 will be a theme verse for us throughout this series. It reads: “To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps.” It is Christ’s example that we want to see in these next few weeks and I can think of no better way to live then to resolve to follow in the very footsteps of Christ. PRAY
INTRODUCTION TO THE SERMON:
The incident I want to begin with is Jesus’ baptism. Jesus being immersed in the Jordan river by John clearly demonstrates Jesus’ devotion and priority of doing God’s will. Now you might think of the cross first when thinking of Jesus submission to God and surely He said then, “Not my will but Yours be done..” But here at the beginning of our study and the beginning of Jesus’ ministry is the first and a primary example of His complete devotion to what God desires of Him.
Vs:13 - “Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John.” Now, if you came today thinking this message was going to primarily deal with baptism you may be disappointed. I don’t want us to study “baptism” per se, as much as I want us to see Jesus’ commitment level and how we can aspire to it. But just so there is no confusion let me quickly state what we as a church believe about water baptism.
(1) We believe water baptism is a requirement not an option. Jesus Christ Himself said in Mk. 16- “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved.” In Matt. 28:19 He said to those who would be telling others about Him. “..go and make disciples (learners, followers) baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Now, that’s Jesus Christ talking.. We have no right to make optional what He commands. And those who were the first to hear that command followed through on it and anyone who came to accept Jesus as Savior was baptized. (2) We believe that the candidate for Baptism is to be a believer, someone who can make their own decision, not an infant. Jesus spoke of believers & disciples when He described those to be baptized. So we do not baptize babies here at M.C.C. but, just as those who were baptized in the N.T., we baptize those who make their own decision to do so. (3) We believe the mode, or the way people should be baptized, is by immersion not sprinkling. The word God chose in the original language for “Baptize” is the word meaning “to submerge” or “put under.” When you read about baptisms in Scripture you see such phrases as “they went down into the water and came up out of the water, or “being buried in baptism.” Immersion fits that picture best. (4) The reason we are baptized is to follow the example & requirement of Christ not because we believe baptism saves you! Now, I must tell you that there are scriptures that make a strong link between baptism and cleansing of sin. Mark 1:4 tells us that “John came, baptizing in the desert regions and preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” In Acts 22:16 when Paul believed, Ananias, his teacher, said to him, “And now, what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away.” However, it is very important that you understand that baptism by itself does nothing for you. Baptism must follow a change of heart. Maybe you have heard of the Russian born comedian Yakov Smirnoff. In his book, America on 6 Rubels a Day, he writes: “Coming from the Soviet Union I was not prepared for the incredible variety of products in American grocery stores. While on my first shopping trip I saw powdered milk. You just add water, you get milk. Then I saw powdered orange juice.. You just add water, you get orange juice. Then I discovered powdered gelatin, you just add water and you get Jell-O. Then I discovered, baby powder! And I thought, ‘What a country!” Now, there are some who think that you just add water to a sinner and you get a Christian. But Scripture makes it very clear that being forgiven or cleansed from sins involves much more than just getting wet. We are forgiven of our sins by putting our faith in Jesus Christ and being obedient to Him as Lord. Is baptism a requirement of Jesus Christ? Yes.. Just as are belief, repentance, confession. Baptism is required, but there is nothing magical in the water! That’s why 1 Peter 3:21 “..baptism (that) now saves you also- not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God.“