This message was preached by Colin D'cruz at Word of Grace Church on March 14th, 2016. To listen/download the audio please click here. To listen to the Sunday's worship and prophetic contributions please click here
We live in a society where at an early age people are being taught to look out for number one by putting someone else down. Public debt is huge in our country. In offices, schools, etc. we come across something called as sin. The root problem has to be dealt with. We are not capable of changing ourselves unless we realise that we are sinners and require God to change us.
The heart of the gospel is that you don’t have to pay for your sins. When you realise that, a miracle takes place. You are a new creation. There is a radical transformation. We are not perfect people but we are forgiven people. That’s the difference. We know that we are a work in progress.
Jesus did his job, lead a sinless life, gave his life, rose again and went up to heaven. Before the ascension, he gathered his followers and gave them these instructions- Matthew 28:18-20 “Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
So he talks about three things:
1. Helping people to believe
2. Be baptised
3. Be built up- teaching them to obey everything I have commanded.
Today we will look at the second point which is baptism. What is the meaning and what is its significance. Getting baptised is not the end, but the beginning, as there are many things we need to be built up in.
The meaning of baptism- unfortunately, our translators, instead of translating the word Baptism, they have transliterated it. Baptism means to immerse or to submerge. Historically, for some reason or the other, the Christian church has changed its understanding of the concept of baptism.
Q. What does the Bible say?
Mark 1:4-5- “And so John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. The whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem went out to him. Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.”
At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 Just as Jesus was coming up out of the water,
The meaning is immersion and not sprinkling.
Q. How was baptism outworked?
Acts 8:26- 36 The Ethiopian Eunuch was reading the book of Isaiah on the chariot. So Philip explained the gospel to the Eunuch. V.36- the Eunuch asks, ‘why shouldn’t I be baptised’. If you are travelling, you definitely carry water. If baptism was just a matter of sprinkling, he would have got baptised with that water. But they waited to see a body of water. Then they ‘went down into the water’. After that Philip was supernaturally taken away and the Ethiopian Eunuch went away rejoicing. There is great joy in obeying what God has commanded.
In Acts 16 is the story of the philippian jailor. Paul and Silas are bruised and bloody. They did not grumble- they were praying and worshipping. The jailor saw the power of God that night. The jailor fell before them asked what he must do to be saved. “At that hour of the night” the jailor got baptised. In the early church, baptism was immediate and was by immersion.
Thirdly, Baptism is not something you do without understanding. There is no point baptising babies because they don’t understand anything. Acts 2: 38 says repent and be baptised- infants cannot repent. If you baptise someone who doesn’t believe you are just getting them wet.
Q. What is the significance of Baptism?
In Judaism, symbols were very important. For example- the symbol of the Passover which reminded them of the first Passover when the blood of the lamb provided protection from death. In NT there are symbols as well. Jesus gave us the breaking of bread. The second one is baptism.
Romans 6:4- “We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”
1. It is a picture of your old self being buried and just as Jesus rose to new life, we rise to our new life. Sprinkling does not give that imagery.
2. An Identity card identifies us as a part of a company/ group. A person who is baptised is identifying themselves with Jesus. Jesus singled out one thing- be baptised. It is identifying that we are sinners and that we are saved by Jesus.
For people who come from a Christian background it is a struggle. But even Jesus got baptised. He was sinless- he did not need to repent, but he did it. When we get baptised, we are fulfilling something of righteousness we need to do undergo.
It is exciting! Let us be expectant. At Jesus’ baptism the skies opened up and the Father’s commendation was on Jesus.
Baptism is not the ending, it is the beginning!
Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again), Spirit filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that have people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service. To know about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org.