Sovereign Grace Blog

Sermon Summary - Believe and Be Baptized - Acts 16:11-33

Believe and Be Baptized
Acts 16:11–16:33

There was a wealthy woman named Lydia who worshiped God and there was a prison guard who was frightened by a miracle that happened in jail. Paul and Silas preached the gospel of faith in Christ alone, which was the power of God unto their salvation, which led to their baptism. So what exactly happened to Lydia and the prison guard? What caused them to ask how they could be saved? The message of the gospel, the truth of Jesus, along with the presence of the Holy Spirit, opened their hearts and caused them to believe in Christ for the forgiveness of their sins. It’s what we see in Hebrews 4:12 “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”

Every human being is in need of God’s forgiveness as Romans 3:23 says “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” despite the culture’s huge move towards relativism which preaches that you are end, you are ultimate, you make up your own truth and at its core teaches that there is no absolute truth. Relativism eradicates the beauty of God’s grace of forgiveness through Jesus. If there is no God then there is no such thing as truth, there is no good and evil. But if there is a God, this philosophy destroys what people desperately need, the forgiveness of sins.

It is through baptism that we who have come to faith in Jesus dramatize what has taken place in our hearts, it’s our response to Peter when he tells us to repent and believe in Jesus. Baptism portrays and signifies our union with Christ by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit who will continue to be with us throughout our lives. So we ask the question again, what must we do to be saved? Peter’s simple answer is to repent and be baptized. Repent doesn’t just mean the feeling of remorse and sorrow towards our sins, it’s also following through on that conviction and the changing of our hearts in order to live differently. Repentance is about turning away from darkness to light. There was a close connection in the minds of the apostles between a person’s saving faith and their baptism. They assumed an obedient believer would submit to Jesus’ command on water baptism just as he said in Matthew 28:19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” This is what Paul and Silas preached to Lydia and the prison guard, to believe in the gospel, repent, and be baptized.

Water baptism portrays our death in the death of Jesus as Paul wrote in Romans 6:3 “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” This means that our sin nature, our old unbelieving selves, died, so we are no longer condemned. Baptism portrays the work of the Holy Spirit himself uniting us spiritually with Jesus and his atoning death on the cross. It also portrays our new spiritual life and our future resurrection life. This is what it means to be a Christian, to go on living our lives in the reality of what our baptisms portray.

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