Summary: A sermon for a baptismal service with Seekers present (who need to understand what’s going on) and Believer (who need to be challenged to be obedient, themselves)

What’s this baptism business all about? Acts 2:38 (vv32-47). WBC 23 April 2006. Baptism of Rebecca Bridges and Valerie Birch

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So- what’s this baptism business all about?



In the end, to be honest- it’s mainly about obedience

- the reason we get baptised is because Jesus said so!

o there ARE all kinds of things that it symbolises and ’works’

- but in the end it’s Jesus who said

"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

You can have the opinion

- "I need to understand the full significance of baptism and then I can do it"

- "I need to get my life sorted out. Then I can do it."

- "I need to get HOLY! Then I can do it"

- "I need to wait a while… then I can do it"

But in a big sense this is all

- 1) unrealistic! ("understand it all!")

- 2) perhaps an excuse…. Stalling mechanism

- 3) putting the cart before the horse

Baptism is really ’first steps". First steps for those who don’t have it all sorted! First steps for those who are really serious and want to go on to 2nd and 3rd steps

- first steps of obedience. Often the blessing, maturity, power, holiness comes after that

- first steps of obedience to Jesus’ command to ’stand up and be counted…. Nail your colours to the mast… stand up and stand out for me and I’ll stand up and out for you’

Mk 8: 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels."

It’s a sign that distinguishes all Christians

- they may do it differently. But all around the world Christians show their obedience to Jesus… and their public desire to follow Him… by doing this

- and in some parts of the world it will kill you

- over here- it’s far more subtle. What will kill you, kill your faith, is not standing up and out

o because it’s only in obedience/giving that you receive/get

So- here are Valerie and Rebecca. Believe it or not, they are not perfect… (nor are they suddenly going to become it)…. nailing their colours to the mast

- we’re on the journey, and we’re going to go for it for all it’s worth

- be obedient to God the Father, Son and Spirit

- we believe in Jesus- and we’re standing up for Him and intent to live for Him and follow Him.

Here’s something else baptism is about


We’re not perfect. None of us are. The big difference is- Christians know it and have at least started tackling it, with God’s help

- "churches are full of hypocrites". "there’s room for plenty more!"

Actually- this is something pretty big, because the bible says we have ALL sinned and have missed the mark of God’s perfection. Even if it’s only in the sense of ’not loving the Lord our God with all our heart, mind and strength"

- folks, nowadays, feel that they’ll be able to stand before God on judgement day and get in because they’ve been good… or even ’get Him in retreat’ ("I’ll have a few things to say to Him!")

- truth is- none of us will get in because of our own merit, goodness- but only because of His grace and forgiveness

o and the way He provided in Jesus

So having our sins washed away is majorly important!

- and this is one thing baptism is about

- it’s there in the passage read to us. "for the forgiveness of sins"

o baptism doesn’t mean your sins are forgiven , or you’re saved

o it SHOWS these things… that happened when you accepted Jesus

So- it’s not surprising it’s in water- as water is used for washing. So it symbolises the fact that

- because you’ve ASKED, God has forgiven you and washed away all your sins!

And it signifies that God’s going to help you build a


In which you act and feel more and more like Him than how you used to

Okay? Get this? So it doesn’t happen overnight. Some things do but most happens in time.

- Salvation happens instantly but SANCTIFICATION- the process of being made holy- happens as you and God work together on your life

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