Summary: BAPTISM is a “spiritual wedding” where you declare your love and commitment to Christ, join with him in his life, take on his identity, and participate in his family.

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1. Introduction

a. my wedding

i. Started ½ hr. late because of road construction.

ii. Flowers locked in church office

iii. Harassed by drunks on our wedding night.

iv. Fortunately, the marriage has gone better than the wedding.

b. My baptism – 12 years old in a dirty leech-filled lake

c. Two great joys as a pastor: weddings & baptisms

d. Baptism is, in my opinion, the single-most significant, exciting and joyous activity of the Christian life.

e. BAPTISM is a “spiritual wedding” where you declare your love and commitment to Christ, join with him in his life, take on his identity, and participate in his family.

2. Baptism is an initial act of discipleship that is meant to mature and reproduce itself (Mt. 28:19-20).

a. The hope is that these newly baptized disciples would learn and obey and then go themselves and baptize others, making more disciples.

b. A wedding ceremony is a public declaration of your love for each other and commitment to one another.

c. BUT, the wedding is not the marriage, but only the beginning of years of learning and maturing in your love and commitment, and (hopefully even) reproducing, so that others will learn and mature in love.

3. Baptism signifies entrance into a divine, living community (Mt. 28:19-20; Acts 19:5; etc.).

a. Not just baptizing “in the authority of” (as “in the name” denotes)

b. But literally, “into the name” – signifying entrance into a divine, living community.

c. Baptism like marriage is a unification where two become one.

d. When you get married, you don’t just take on that person’s name, you enter into the life of that person (past, present, future; hobbies, interests, etc.).

4. Baptism into Christ is baptism into the community of Christ

a. 1 Cor. 12:13

i. The Holy Spirit is not just the “product” of baptism but the agent – the one who makes entry into the life of Christ possible.

ii. Baptism into Christ is baptism into the body of Christ (the church)

b. Gal. 3:27-28

i. That one has been “clothed in Christ” through baptism is the new identity marker.

c. Eph. 4:4-6

i. This new identity in Christ unifies all believers together as one.

d. BUT as you know, when you get married, you not only marry your spouse; you marry your spouse’s family. Whether you like it or not, all the good and all the bad of your spouse’s family are now yours, too.

5. Baptism signifies new life in Christ

a. Rom. 6:3-4

i. As Jesus inaugurated the kingdom through his death and resurrection, so the believer participates in the Kingdom through baptism.

ii. Immersion symbolizes this “dying & rising.”

iii. This “new life” is characterized by obedience (Rom. 6:17).

b. Col. 2:11-12

i. Baptism is a visible, tangible act that declares the “cutting away” of the sinful nature and a new life in Christ as a new creation.

c. Women – changing identity (name) – S.S. card, drivers license, etc.

d. “Cinderella stories” of finding the right person who changes life.

6. Conclusion

a. Even though the wedding may be beautiful, not every one has a wonderful marriage. We don’t simply want more weddings; we want better, more committed marriages. So too, we don’t simply want more baptisms, we want more committed, obedient disciples of Jesus.

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Sherry Lugard

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