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Baptism by Truth

September 15, 2002


Scripture Reading:


We have several adults this evening who have come for baptism.

Baptism is an act of further obedience to Jesus Christ for those who have received him as Lord of their lives by faith.

We say "further obedience" because the first step of obedience is to believe that he is the way to eternal life – the way to God - because he himself is God, God in the flesh come down to dwell for a time among us.

Like God said about Abraham, the father of the Jews, "He believed God and it was credited to him as righteousness."

We all need this righteousness because, "We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God."

So these tonight who have believed God that they need the righteous sacrifice of his son, Jesus, as the way to eternal life through the forgiveness of their sins (he paid for their sins on the cross) will take the further step of faith in baptism.

Why is baptism an act of faith? It is because it is a witness to themselves, to the church and to the world that they have made a choice, with God's help, to cross over from death to life, from darkness to light, from rebellion to obedience, from disbelief to faith in the Son of God who died that they might live in righteousness.

Baptism enacts or pictures for us this holy phenomenon of crossing over from death to life.

Jesus himself spoke of it in terms of being "born again."

Jesus said that without it, no one would see the kingdom of God.

In fact, he said that the only way to enter the kingdom of God was to be born of the water and the Spirit.

Since the Holy Spirit of God goes where he pleases, and you cannot see him, like the wind, his spiritual birth in the body and soul of the believer is enacted in baptism.

Jesus said that flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit.

Through faith in Jesus, the spirit of man can be revived from its deadness, retrieved from death.

Just like we see the sign of water breaking forth when flesh is born, so we break forth from water to visibly enact the birth of the Spirit within the flesh.

Baptism is a sign of willingness to be seen as belonging to a new tribe upon the earth – it is a tribe of victors, of overcomers, of heaven dwellers upon the earth – a tribe of Jesus people who follow him to the green pastures and still waters of a soul at peace with Almighty God.

When you believe in Jesus, then God lives in you through the presence of the Holy Spirit.

These who will be baptized tonight are those in whom the Holy Spirit of God dwells by faith in the Son of God.

Each of them will give an account of their faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of sins and the new life they have received - indeed will continue to receive - as they live out what God has given them.

But I want to talk to you further this evening about something my wife wanted clarification about just the other day when we were talking about the sinful human condition and the difficulty in breaking through the barrier that people have built up around themselves – a resistance to spiritual truth.

She asked, "How can we convince people of their need for God through faith in Jesus Christ?"

I told her that all we can do is baptize them with the truth – in other words immerse them with the truth.

Our model for this is, of course, Jesus Christ.

In his ministry to mankind he did four things in regard to the truth as he lived among us in an attempt to break through to us.

So the question we are addressing is this:

Big Question:

How can we convince people of their need for God through faith in Jesus Christ?

I.       Jesus told the truth.

          A.      Narrative

75 times in the gospels Jesus says, "I tell you the truth."

His ministry was one of truth telling.

What did he tell the truth about?

He told the truth about the law of God and said he came to fulfill it (Mt. 5:17-18).

He told the truth about righteousness (Mt. 6:1-2, 5, 16).

He told the truth about faith (Mt. 8:10; 17:20).

He told the truth about judgment (Mt. 10:15).

He told the truth about ministry (Mt. 10:23).

He told the truth about reward (Mt. 10:42).

He told the truth about the future (Mt. 16:28; 19:28; 24:34).

He told the truth about the kingdom of heaven (Mt. 18:3; 21:31).

He told the truth about the nature of God (Mt. 18:13).

He told the truth about the human condition and the world (Mt. 19:23).

He told the truth about what he wants from us and what happens if we do not do it (Mt. 25:40, 45, 46).

He even told the truth about lying (Mark 3:20-30).

And this just touches the truth in the first of the four gospel accounts of Jesus' ministry.

          B.      Implication

Since Jesus told the truth about God, so must we, in hopes that people will hear.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

Rom. 1:16-17; 2Tim. 1:7-8a

II.      Jesus lived the truth.

          A.      Narrative

Jesus lived the truth from the beginning – Lk. 2:45-49

Jesus lived the truth through testing – Lk. 4:1-15 (Heb. 4:15)

Jesus lived the truth by preaching it – Mt. 5ff; Mt. 7:28

Jesus lived the truth with action and emotion – Mark 11:15-18

Jesus lived the truth by performing miracles – Mark 6:1-2; Lk. 19:37; John 7:31; 10:24-25

Jesus lived the truth in front of God – John 8:27-30

Jesus lived the truth in front of his disciples – John 14:5-11, Mt. 16:13-16

Jesus lived the truth in front of the world – Mt. 26:55; 27:50-54

          B.      Implication

Since Jesus lived the truth in God, so must we, in hopes that people will see.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

Php. 2:1-15

III.    Jesus paid the price of truth.

          A.      Narrative

Mark 15:1-34

          B.      Implication

Since Jesus paid the price of truth, so must we, in hopes that people will believe.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

Gal. 2:20; Php. 3:7-14

IV.    Jesus vindicated the truth (that is, he proved his truth to be true).


          A.      Narrative

Mark 16 or (John 20:10-31; Acts 1:3-11)

          B.      Implication

Since Jesus vindicated the truth there is nothing more to prove – except our faith.

          C.      Illustration

          D.      Application

1Cor. 15:1-8, 12-23, 1Thess. 4:13-18


Jesus told the truth, lived the truth, paid the price of truth, and vindicated the truth.

The further truth is that we need to model for others what Jesus modeled for us.

The baptisms (and testimonies) you are about to witness will model that truth for us here this evening.

These five adults (Linda, Carol, Ida, Bill and Fred) are here to proclaim that they are among those now who have believed the truth of Jesus and are willing live and pay the price of truth in order that Jesus might be proved through them by their faith.

We are born into this world with a load of guilt, but even more we are born into the opportunity to unload it and be set free by faith from the curse of sin.

Big Answer:

How can we convince people of their need for God through faith in Jesus Christ?

We can witness to the truth of the One who said, "I am the Way and the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."

That is what tonight's baptism service is all about. It is a witness to the truth – to you, to the church, to the world, that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Timeless Truth:

 “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man, in order that the righteous requirements of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the sinful nature but according to the Spirit.” (Romans 8:1-4 NIVUS)

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