The twenty-fourth Sunday of Pentecost – November 12, 2023
Holy Trinity Church – Tom Mount
Scripture Reading: Matt 3:13-16; Matt 28:16-20
- During the next two weeks, we will look at the two sacraments of the Church. Evangelicals often prefer the word “ordinance” (C&MA, Presbyterians, etc.).
- Sacrament = a sign or symbol of spiritual reality that points to something beyond it. By participating in a ritual action, we participate in its deeper spiritual reality.
- We will use the six fact finding questions to explore baptism. Rudyard Kipling:
“I keep six honest serving-men
(They taught me all I knew);
Their names are What and Why and When
And How and Where and Who.”
What is it?
- Baptize – Gk. baptizo, “to immerse, submerge, dip under.” Done for the purpose of producing a change in the thing that is immersed; e.g., linen in vat of dye.
- Baptism was practiced by Jews for new converts and in cleansing rituals (mikveh).
- Definition: Holy baptism is a sacred initiatory ritual modeled and commanded by our Lord, which completes and visibly symbolizes our immersion by God’s Spirit into Christ and his body, the Church, making us “one” with him and one another.
- Baptism involves two parts: 1) the submerging of our spirits into Jesus and into his body, the Church, by his Spirit (spiritual baptism at conversion), and 2) the submerging of our bodies into water by a representative of Christ’s Church (physical baptism sometime after conversion). The two together comprise the “one baptism” of Eph 4:5.
- The sacrament of water baptism is not a mere witness or ritual. It is the completion of God’s action of placing us into the body of Christ. He meets us in the act of baptism, powerfully present to us in the Spirit by faith.
Who should be baptized?
- All who have put their trust in the Lord Jesus (1 Cor 12:13; cf. Acts 2:39).
- Those who are unsure about their faith should wait (cf. 2 Cor 13:5).
- What about children? Parents should consult with their pastor.
- What about those baptized as babies or children: should they get rebaptized
When should we be baptized?
- After there is an experience of conversion: “turning” and faith in Jesus (Mark 1:15).
- After there is some evidence of life change, “the fruits of repentance” (Matt 3:8-10).
- After there is a period of Christian instruction (cf. Acts 16:32; 1 Tim 5:22).
Why get baptized?
- Jesus commanded it! (Mt 28:19)
- Jesus modeled it as the new Adam. We follow him in this new Way (cf. 1 Cor 15:22).
- It is a witness to the world of our faith in Jesus as the only way. We follow him, the “baptized One” (Jn 14:6).
- It visibly unites us to the Church, the “baptized ones” (Eph 4:5).
- It helps us internalize our cleansing from sin, guilt, shame (1 Peter 3:20-22).
- It helps us to live holy lives by re-enacting our union with Christ in his death to sin and resurrection to righteousness (Rom 6:1-4).
- It can be the occasion of special spiritual blessing and gifting (cf. 2 Tim 1:6).
How and where is it done?
- Where: In “living water” where available (a clean, natural water source).
- How: In the triune Name (Matt 28:19); by immersion if possible (pouring and sprinkling are options); coupled with chrismation (anointing with oil).
- Process at Holy Trinity: read the booklet, fill out the questions at the end, meet with a pastor, plan a date, prepare for the event (pray, fast, memorize Apostle’s Creed).
- If you have been baptized: reflect on your union with Christ and live it out daily. One way to reinforce this commitment symbolically is to anoint yourself from the font each time you come into or go out of the sanctuary.
- If you haven’t: commit to doing it in the near future! Get a booklet; talk to Craig or me.
- Parents: prayerfully ask the Lord for wisdom to discern when your children are ready and talk to Craig or me.