Pastor Joe's blog

6/10/18 - Sermon Summary - Baptism (Part 1)

Baptism (Part 1) – Matthew 3:1-10

Baptism is not a mad-made tradition.  It is a God-ordained ordinance.  It started with John the Baptist, and continued during Jesus’ earthly ministry.  Jesus’ last words before His ascension (Matthew 28:19): “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them…”  Any person who says, “Water baptism isn’t that important.  We’re saved by faith through grace.  I’m saved but not baptized so therefore it can’t be that crucial…” has the same mentality as the person who thinks that because we’re saved by grace through faith they can then go on and live in unrepentant sin.  Main point: Baptism is to be obeyed by every person who has come to saving faith in Jesus Christ. 

Matthew 3:1-10.  Historical context: John the Baptist’s preaching was a direct attack on the assumption that circumcision and the works of the law made you right with God.  John’s message in a nutshell to the Jews, who had the sign of the covenant (circumcision): repent, confess your sins, and give proof of your sincerity by a changed life and by being baptized, because God’s wrath hangs over you.  This is why many of us don’t baptize infants.  Children must understand their sinfulness before God, repent, believe, and then get baptized.  Back to the historical context, baptism is a sign of renouncing reliance on ethnic Jewishness, and personally relying on the mercy of God (v. 7-9).  The Jews’ pridefully thinking, “We have Abraham as our father” is the same problem that has been in the church for 2000 years: those who trust in the sacraments or that they asked Jesus into their heart.  Galatians 3:26-29 – sons of God through faith in Christ, baptized into Christ, and if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendants.  What John’s baptism teaches us is that Christian baptism is not a continuation of circumcision in the Old Covenant. 

While millions of true Christians differ on the issue, Joe holds to believer’s baptism, not infant baptism.  The argument for infant baptism goes: since circumcision was the sign of the covenant, baptism takes its place as the new sign of the new covenant.  More to come on this in a future sermon.  Why it doesn’t work: the vast majority of those who had the sign of the old covenant were not born again.  But every one of those in the new covenant have saving faith. 

The meaning of baptism: the physical picture of going down under the water is identified with Jesus’ death and then being brought back out of the water is a picture of being identified with Jesus’ resurrection and of newness of spiritual life (Romans 6:3-4).  Water baptism is a picture of new birth.  Colossians 2:11-14 – spiritual circumcision, buried with Christ in baptism, raised up with Him through faith.  Baptism gets its meaning from Jesus’ sacrificial death and triumph over human death by His resurrection, which together guarantee our resurrection and everlasting life.  It is the main initial public confession of faith, “I will Identify with Christ, and His body (the church).”  1 Corinthians 12:12-13.  The Holy Spirit puts us into Christ, spiritually (not water there), and thus puts us into the community of Christ. 

Wrap-up: baptism is tied to the question, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?  We were all born children of wrath, and the way of salvation is through faith in the work of Christ on the cross, not through ethnic or religious identity.  It doesn’t matter who your parents are.  And the sign of true repentance and faith is water baptism. 

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