Friday, August 19, 2011

3 reasons to be baptized

We're celebrating baptisms this weekend at Grace. I believe that baptism is a critical part of an obedient Christian life. I also feel strongly that the Bible indicates that it is believers who should be baptized. An oft repeated phrase throughout the New Testament is "repent and be baptized" - which seems to indicate that baptism is something that we must choose to do.  I felt so strongly about this that 15 years ago I was baptized as a believer even though I had been baptized as a baby early in my life. Baptism is a symbol of a person’s total identification with Christ and allegiance to him.  But more than that – it is a public declaration -a way of identifying that the person being baptized is now welcome in the community of faith. Here are 3 reasons I think baptism is so important:

  1. Jesus commanded it. Baptism is an act of obedience - and for many Christians it is their very first act of obedience.  Jesus was clear about this, "Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”  (Matthew 28:19)
  2. It is a primary tradition of the church.  From the very beginning of the church, believers in Jesus have been baptized. In getting baptized, you are demonstrating to the church that you have made a commitment to follow Christ.  ”What are you waiting for?  Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name” (Acts 22:16)
  3. Jesus himself was baptized. As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”  (Matthew 3:13-17) - There was really no other reason for Jesus to be baptized other than to be an example to us... (oh yeah and for God to split the heavens open and show the world that this was His son...).

It's not too late - if you're still interested in being baptized this weekend at our 9:15 or 11:00 services in McKean - let us know here.  Do some more reading in Romans 6 if you'd like some more theology on the subject.  

1 comment:

Danny Lucas said...

As I peruse your most popular posts list, I see much on "Leader-ship". With THIS post on Baptism, I was delighted to see words of truth on "Follower-ship".
I pray the Post becomes among your most popular one day.

I see you have been baptised in early life, and had a repeat as an adult. I applaud that as a correct move.
A pastor at an Assembly of God church once told me that baby baptism was not valid.

I reminded him that in Acts, there is a double whammy making children baptism valid.
Acts 16: 15 is on Lydia, and notes
"When she and THE MEMBERS of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house."

I said to the pastor:
"Doncha think there were some children (babies) in Lydia's household?"

In Christ's time, crucifixion was for the worst offenses. We know very, very few folks who we are SURE are in heaven. We are not privy to their hearts.
However, one of those to deserve the worst form of death sentence, crucifixion, looked at Christ and said "Can I go with you?"
Christ told the good thief: "THIS DAY, you will be with me in paradise!"

We know this cursed man is in of the day Christ was crucified. Can't say that about very many people with certainty. Few are listed in the Bible.

But given his lifestyle that led to crucifixion, I seriously doubt he was ever baptised. It was only a roughly three year prior event, from John the Baptist forward.
So baptism is not a requirement for salvation, (given the Good Thief going to heaven) but IS a requirement for anyone without nails in their hand and feet, to be baptised to show their belief in Christ, and death to the old way of living.

Seven of my siblings went last year to the Holy Land, and 6 of us were baptised in the Jordan River where it is believed Christ was baptised. Months after returning home, I asked one sister what was the hardest part for her in the Holy Land?

She replied: "Getting baptised again!" She had misgivings that it was a rebuke of her infant baptism.

I told her people renew marriage vows, they go to confession often, they take Holy Communion over and over. Then why would a repeat of baptism be an insult to the original baptism?
It was her first relief at a repeated baptism.

As for child baptism again, listen to Peter.
Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And YOU WILL RECEIVE the gift of the Holy Spirit. The PROMISE is for YOU and your CHILDREN and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

There is more going on here than Christ being baptised and God splitting the heavens to say "This is my Son". Christ was explicit to the Apostles with "Unless I go away, the Comforter will not come to you"

With Christ died, buried, risen, and ascended, Peter steps up and tells the people:
"be baptised and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (above).

If you find your life far from God, at any stage of your life, this is a huge clue on how to get back on track.
BE BAPTISED.... and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

On this planet, it doesn't get much better than that!
Do It.
Do it again.

St. Paul said "Stop sinning!", so it must be possible to stop. But not on our own. We need the Counselor, the Paraclete, God.
Be Baptised and receive him.

As an after thought, I mentioned to my sister this was a hard time for me too, as I had been baptised long ago. But in my mind, Christ was baptised here in the Jordan (where we were) and we would likely never return here again.

The opportunity was given, and a choice had to be it, or later, wonder why you did not be baptised when you had the chance.

Well.....Derek is offering the chance too.
Don't crucify yourself.
Repent of your sins and be baptised......often!

Nice post Derek.