Summary: A message on the purpose of baptism.
Did you ever notice that they always ask for TWO: two forms of ID please. Even when you go to apply for some form of ID, they always ask for two forms of ID.
When I applied for my driver’s license they wanted two forms of ID – My birth certificate and my social security card. When I applied for my social security card they wanted two forms of ID – I needed my birth certificate, but I don’t have a clue what else I used. I guess the only time I didn’t need two forms of ID was when I was born (but then again, they asked for two forms of ID from BOTH my parents…)
Two forms of ID. People ask for them when they want to make sure who you really are. They want proof; they want something that identifies who you are.
It’s no different with the Believer, a true follower of Christ Jesus. Jesus thought it was so important that He left us with two ways to show our identification with Him, two forms of ID. Both show what He did for us and that we specifically identify with what He did.
That’s the purpose of these two symbols or identifications that Jesus left for every believer. They are baptism and The Lord’s Table (Communion).
We will not look at the Lord’s Table other than to say that it pictures what Jesus gave up so that you and I could have forgiveness of sin and eternal life. The bread that is used pictures the fact (identifies us with) that Jesus gave Himself, his body as the payment for our sins when He hung on the cross. The grape juice represents (identifies us with) Jesus’ blood that was shed as He hung on the cross.
The whole symbolism of the Lord’s Table is about Jesus giving Himself as the payment for our sins. When we eat and drink the bread and juice we are showing that we have made what He did for us – something personal!
The other form of ID is baptism. We are going to talk about baptism this morning. Together I want us to discover three powerful truths about baptism that may be totally new to you.
Most people assume that baptism is something that gets done to us when we are babies. Our parents might have gone to a particular church and had us sprinkled as infants. Often such sprinkling is sort of a “baby dedication” or symbol that the parents will raise that child in that particular kind of church. Here at FamilyFellowship we do not baptize babies, but we do dedicate them (and their parents) to the Lord.
When our children were born we had a special prayer of dedication. We told God that we understood that He gave them to us and we would do our best to raise them as He wanted. We’ve tried to keep that promise to God.
But this morning we walk to talk about what we often call “Believer’s Baptism”. The command of Jesus that – after we accept Him as our Forgiver and Boss – we are to be baptized. So let’s lay out the basics and then I will share with you three powerful truths about baptism and how it will help you to daily identify with Jesus’ purpose for your life!
But before we go too far we need to understand what baptism doesn’t do.
(1) Baptism will not get you to heaven or “wash away” your sins.
1 Peter 3:21 “Baptism is not a removal of dirt from your body; it is an appeal to God from a clean conscience.”
(2) Baptism will not make you a better Believer – but it will show that you are obedient to what God wants.
We also need to understand what baptism is.
(1) Baptism is the act of being totally immersed
The word baptize is used several different times in the Bible. Each time it talks about being totally immersed in something: as a matter of fact the original word dealt with the act of dying cloth – immersing it into something that would totally change it’s color!
(2) In the New Testament Church baptism was the act of being totally immersed in water as an act of IDENTIFYING with what Jesus did.
(3) Baptism is a SYMBOL, a PICTURE of what Jesus did for us! It is a FORM of ID.
Baptism means to be immersed…and the picture of Believer’s Baptism or Water Baptism pictures what happened when we accepted Christ. It is me identifying outwardly and personally with what Jesus has done inside of me.
So what did He do? What does Baptism represent and why should I identify myself with what He did?
I. First, baptism represents WHAT JESUS DID FOR ME: He forgave my sins