For the last few weeks at Riverside where I’m blessed to preach, we’ve been talking about baptism.
You may have your own questions about baptism. I’ve found that this is one of those things that people have a lot of assumptions about, but it’s also one of those things that people have a lot of questions about.
I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I have loved that over the past few weeks we’ve enjoyed the opportunity to think about this incredible idea together as a church.
From the very beginning, I have had two hopes for this series on baptism. Two goals in mind.
It’s been my hope that for those who have not taken this step of faith, who have not been baptized into Jesus Christ, that they would be baptized into Jesus Christ. That they would confess that He alone is Lord & Savior. That all our hope is in Him.
I don’t mind telling you that I’ve been praying for Riverside, that we would see more people come to faith in Jesus here in this church. That we would see more people baptized into Christ through the work of God in this church.
In fact, on Easter Sunday, April 1st, we’re having a BAPTISM SUNDAY at Riverside.
Well, first of all… Easter is resurrection Sunday. This is the day Jesus was raised from the tomb! In baptism we are raised with Jesus into new life. Easter seems like a great day to have a baptism Sunday.
Also, we feel like as a church that baptism is one of our highest values & one of our highest callings. Jesus Himself said that we are to go into all the world, make disciples & baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son & the Holy Spirit. We set aside special Sunday’s for all kinds of things… it seems like baptism should be one of those things since it is one of the most important things we do.
And, We want to be responsible for starting parties in heaven!!! Jesus once said that every time a sinner repents that the angels in heaven break out in celebration! (Luke 15.10.) We want Riverside to be responsible for starting some of those heavenly celebrations!
It’s my hope that for those of us who have taken this step, that at some point in life did take that step of faith in baptism, that we would think again about what it means to live the baptized life.
My suspicion is, if you’re anything like me, that you tend to forget from time to time that you are called, because of your baptism, to Live Different. But the baptized life is quite literally a life that is different because of Jesus. The baptized life has a different trajectory, the baptized life has a different orientation. The baptized life points back to a different starting point & points forward to a new heavens & new earth.
Our baptism changes everything about us. It changes the way we think, the way we live, the way we treat others, the way we do marriage, the way we raise kids, the way we live in our neighborhoods, the way we work, the way we use our vacation time, the way we do everything.
If you look at your life & can’t tell me what’s different about your life because of your baptism, then it may be time to go back to that moment in your life & remember your baptism. Remember the life Jesus called you out of & the life He called you into. It may be time to remember your baptism & what exactly happened in those waters.
Wherever you are in your spiritual journey, I thought I would share just 3 quick resources that have helped me & may help you too.
Along the Way
If you’re raising kids, this might be a good book for you to check out. Chapters 9 & 10 specifically talk about children & baptism. It’s been helpful to me & many parents who are raising their kids to know God, love God & serve God but are wondering at what age they should begin talking to their kids about their baptism.
“One of the insights we get when we seek to appreciate baptism in the context of the life of Jesus and of the disciple is the realization that baptism is part of a journey.”
“’Knowing Jesus’ is not just about being forgiven. To know Jesus is to be caught up in a journey of following him, becoming more like him, “pressing on” each day to embody his experience of death and resurrection more and more as part of God’s mission in the world (Phil. 3:10–14). As baptism teaches us, salvation is not so much about getting something from Jesus, or even just having a personal relationship with Jesus, as it is about joining Jesus.”
The Baptized Life
For those who have been baptized, I’d love to recommend you read this book about the baptized life. What I love about this book is that it calls us to live every day from the waters of baptism. To remember that when we walked through the water, we were changed.
Talking about baptism, here’ a quote from this book by Tom Jones:
“If it was important enough for God to give it, for Jesus to include it in his Great Commission, for it to be preached on the Day of Pentecost, for three thousand people to experience it on that first day when the Spirit was poured out, & for Paul to remind five different churches what a defining moment it was in their lives, doesn’t it stand to reason that God had something quite significant in mind when he gave it “from heaven”?”
Enter the Water, Come to the Table
If you’re looking for a deeper dive, here’s a book by John Mark Hicks. Here’s a a quote from his book:
“”Baptism, the Lord’s supper, and assembly are dramatic rehearsals of the story through which God renews communion, empowers transformation, and realizes the future. By faith the community participates in this story through water, food and drink, and gathering in the power of the Spirit.”
There are a ton of great resources out there. I hope these three might help you if you’re looking to learn or grow in your understanding of baptism. As always, if I can help you or serve you in any way… don’t hesitate to drop me an email & let me know.
May God bless you as you continue your journey of faith.