Summary: None of us can live without water - physically or spiritually.
Can you imagine life without water? Think of the ways that we use it everyday – brushing our teeth, taking a shower, washing our hands, wiping off the kitchen counter, cooking, watering the lawn. Water is indispensable!
Plants need water to grow. They can’t life without it. When Linda and I were living in St. Louis, we had to make an emergency trip to Wisconsin in the middle of summer. Linda’s dad was very ill and we had to leave very quickly. We had to leave so quickly we didn’t have time to set up someone to take care of her flowers. We had been getting some rain so I thought they would be all right for a few days. When we left though, we got a real blast of heat and no rain. We were worried about our Vincas, Petunias and Ivy as we pulled back into town. Linda wanted me to assess the situation and prepare her for the gruesome sight before she would come around the corner and look at them. Our flowers had badly wilted and were dried up. We were somewhat sad about the flowers. However, I decided that if we watered them they might come back. They did. Water brings new life to plants.
Sure plants need water. That’s true. All too true. We saw how much a lack of water can affect our lives. It recently touched our lives, didn’t it? As we saw this past summer, water has a tremendous impact on our lives. With the severe drought that this area endured this past year, we are reminded of the importance of water. Many ponds dried up. Crops suffered. Lots of money was spent trying to irrigate farmland. A temporary halt to the watering of lawns was instituted because of the water shortage. All living creatures need water. It is indispensable for all life to exist.
When I was in the Army, my unit was deployed to the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California. Fort Irwin is the Army’s desert warfare training facility and is adjacent to Death Valley. For a month, my unit was sent out into the Mohave Desert to train under extreme conditions. With the daily high temperatures well over 100 degrees, everyone drank a lot of water and knew where the nearest water supply was located. Once in awhile, someone would get careless and not drink enough water. Eventually, the temperature and physical exertion would wear on them and they would succumb to a heat-related injury. Every month at least one person was air evacuated due to heat stroke. For soldiers at Fort Irwin, water is indispensable. It is a matter of survival. All people need water for survival. Not just soldiers at Fort Irwin. Not just people who live in desert regions. All people need water to live.
This is truer than we may realize. What people need most, whether they realize it or not, is the saving power of God through the water of baptism and the Word of God. The Bible tells us that all people have sinned and fallen short of God’s perfect standards. We also know that we are unable to save ourselves. But God loves us so much that He provided a way out of our sad situation. He gave us the gift of baptism to take away all of our sins. That is life-giving water that all people need.
In our message on the Sunday after Christmas, we discovered that baptism is one of God’s ways of giving us all the blessings that Jesus earned for us on the cross. Through our baptism into Christ, we receive the complete forgiveness of all of our sins and become heirs of everlasting life. In addition, we are given the gift of faith through baptism as God’s spirit plants the seed of faith in the heart of even the tiniest infant.
Christ has given to the church the gift of baptism in order to make new Christians out of those who live in the desert of their sin. Baptism is not only a gift for those already in His family but also a gift we are to share with those outside of His family. God wishes to bring more people into His kingdom through this blessed gift. Everyone needs the blessings of baptism. We all need it.
God forgives our sins through baptism and gives to us faith to follow Him but it doesn’t make us perfect. Unfortunately, we still sin.
Man non-Christians level a charge against Christians. A recent USA Today editorial showed that many non-Christians feel threatened by Christians. They feel that we are bigoted and hypocritical They say that Christians do not follow Christ’s teaching of loving those God has placed in our lives. They believe that we are judgemental.