Baptism

Scripture: Mark 16:16a “Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved”

 

Title: Baptism

 

Key Idea: Baptism is where God’s grace meets our faith

 

Structure:

  • Introduction
  • Baptism is where God’s grace meets our faith
  • Conclusion

 

 

Introduction:

This morning Duan is being baptised

  • The word ‘baptise’ means to dip or immerse
  • There is a pool of water here at the front – we call this the ‘baptistery’
  • Duan will go into the water, make a profession of his faith in Jesus, then be immersed under the water before coming out again
  • That is the act of baptism

 

Baptism comes up in the New Testament quite a bit

  • John the Baptist immersed people in the Jordan river to get them ready for the coming Messiah
  • Jesus himself was baptised by John, as a sign that he had come to take away the sins of the world

 

Later Jesus went through another sort of baptism – not in water – but on the cross, when he was immersed in suffering

  • After his resurrection from the dead Jesus commanded his disciples to…

 

Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. [1]

 

Throughout the Book of Acts, the apostles did as Jesus instructed…

  • They preached the gospel and when people believed in Jesus the apostles baptised them

 

Baptism is where God’s grace meets our faith:

We could go on listing other New Testament references to baptism but the key idea I want to communicate this morning is…

 

Baptism is where God’s grace meets our faith

 

Or as Beasley-Murray puts it…

  • “Baptism is… the divinely appointed rendezvous of grace for faith.” [2]

 

In the New Testament the same gifts of grace are associated with faith as with baptism – so grace, faith and baptism go together

  • Baptism is a nexus point for God’s grace & our faith

Just so we are on the same page…

  • By grace we mean a multifaceted gift from God
  • A gift, by definition, is freely given – we don’t pay for it
  • So grace is unearned – it costs God but it doesn’t cost us

 

And faith is believing (or trusting) to the point we are prepared to act on that belief

 

Baptism is where God’s grace meets our faith

 

Let me illustrate by way of analogy

  • Imagine someone tells you that Mexted Motors are giving away cars – brand new cars at no cost
  • All you have to do is turn up at their car yard, collect the key, get in the car and drive away

 

Grace is being given the new car for free

 

And baptism is the rendezvous point for collecting the new car – that is: the yard at Mexted’s

 

Faith is believing that what you have been told is true and then acting on that belief by walking down to Mexted’s, collecting a key, getting in a vehicle and driving away

  • Faith is not saying, ‘I agree that Mexted’s are giving away cars’ and then sitting at home on the couch
  • Faith is acting on your belief – trusting that what you have heard is true

 

Baptism is where God’s grace meets our faith

 

Now, in many ways this is an inadequate analogy for baptism

  • We don’t just turn up to collect the goodies from God and then drive away – see you later. No
  • In baptism we become forever friends with Jesus
  • So when we get in the car (when we are baptised) the Spirit of God is already there waiting for us – ready to show us the way to go through life

Translating the analogy for you…

  • Duan has heard the gospel preached
  • He has heard the good news that God has grace – a wonderful multi-faceted gift to give away
  • And he has come to the waters of baptism in faith to receive God’s grace
  • After receiving the grace God wants to give, Duan will continue his journey through life with God

 

So what is this grace of God?

  • Well, firstly Duan, there’s no free car
  • And that goes for the rest of you as well
  • I don’t want anyone turning up at Mexted’s this afternoon, saying…
  • “I’ve been baptised. Where’s my free car.”

 

Seriously though, Jesus embodies the fullness of God’s grace

  • All the different facets of God’s grace we find in Christ
  • Jesus is God’s gift to the world for the salvation of creation

 

When we are baptised into Christ we receive forgiveness from sin [3]

  • And union with Christ [4]

With forgiveness God wipes our slate clean – He doesn’t hold our wrong doing against us

  • That means our guilt is removed – we’re justified & accepted before God
  • Not only are our sins forgiven – but sin also loses its power over us
  • The power of sin is death – because we are forgiven, death can’t hold us
  • And because we are justified, the accusations of the evil one won’t stick

 

In believers’ baptism we also receive from God union with Christ

  • Baptism is sort of like a wedding ceremony in that it unites us to Christ
  • Just as marriage is for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, so too union with Christ is for better or worse, through thick & thin
  • Baptism doesn’t mean the end of suffering or difficulty in this life
  • But it does mean the end of trying to cope with difficulties on your own

 

It also means a change to our lifestyle

  • I remember when I married Robyn, I had to change my mind set
  • No longer could I think like a single man
  • Now I had to consider Robyn in everything I did
  • I needed to learn to listen to her and tell her what I was thinking & feeling
  • It’s the same with our union to Christ – we have to consider him in all our decisions – how will this affect Jesus?
  • We need to listen to him and be honest with him – we call that prayer

 

Union with Christ is a biggy – it comes with a number of benefits

  • For starters union with Christ gives you the Spirit of Jesus
  • The Holy Spirit is the key to everything really
  • The Spirit precedes baptism in that He leads us to Christ and makes faith & repentance possible
  • Faith is a gift from God
  • The Holy Spirit is also given in baptism [5]
  • One of the Biblical metaphors for the Holy Spirit is water
  • We are baptised in water as a sign that through our union with Christ we are being immersed in God’s Spirit
  • The Holy Spirit then follows baptism – we go on being filled with the Spirit who empowers us to live the Christian life

 

Union with Christ gives you the promise of resurrection

  • In Romans 6 Paul writes: Don’t you know that all of us who were baptised into Christ Jesus were baptised into his death?
  • …If we have been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection. [6]

 

Because Jesus is God’s Son, union with Christ makes us sons & daughters of God

  • As co-heirs with Christ we will inherit God’s kingdom

 

And last but not least, union with Christ means we become members of the church universal

  • Duan’s baptism is not something which is done in isolation
  • It’s not just between him and God
  • Duan’s baptism is between him and God and us
  • Duan is being incorporated into Christ’s body, the church
  • So we who have been baptised are affected by this
  • We are encourageed and strengthened by it

 

There is much more I could say about baptism but that’s enough for today

  • The main point is: Baptism is where God’s grace meets our faith

 

We will now hear a testimony from Duan…

 

 

 

 

 

[1] Mark 16:15-16

[2] G.R. Beasley-Murray, ‘Baptism in the New Testament, page 273.

[3] Acts 2:38

[4] Galatians 3:27

[5] 1 Corinthians 12:13

[6] Romans 6:3 & 5

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