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177 Seriously; Baptism; Acts 2

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My baptism
I want to say at the outset today that my goal isn’t to try to twist your arm into being baptized. In my experience, people who make snap decisions rarely last. That being said; I do believe it is the decision of all decisions. One of the most beautiful sights in the world is seeing someone stand before the church and God and be baptized.
I have three simple goals for the sermon today:
Why should we be baptized?
Why should we be baptized?
Who should be baptized?
How should baptisms be performed? (SK)
I only have one other purpose for this sermon and I’ll give it to you up front as well: if you have been baptized, live your baptism.
Why Who How
- Acts starts off where the Gospels finish.
Jesus’ followers (120) are bunched up. They are celebrating the Feast of Pentecost (OT Feast of Weeks).
Holy Spirit - other languages - People think they must be drinking - Peter starts preaching.
Acts 2:14–15 NIV
14 Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: “Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. 15 These people are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning!
Peter goes on to tell them that what is happening is what the prophet Joel 500 years earlier: “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people.”
Peter ends the quote from Joel in v.21
Acts 2:21 NIV
21 And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
Peter is wanting them to realize that Jesus is the “Lord” Joel spoke about.
Then Peter continues with the most un-seeker-sensitive sermon in the history or preaching.
Acts 2:22–24 NIV
22 “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.
Four things to note here:
First- the irony. People were accusing the disciples of hitting the sauce before breakfast. Peter flips the script and says, “We’re not drinking. We’re innocent. You are the ones guilty. You put Jesus on a cross. But through him, you can be innocent.”
Second-as you yourselves know. People today may debate whether or not Jesus actually committed miracles. They couldn’t have the same debate! There were eye-witnesses there!
Third - Peter doesn’t let them avoid their guilt. I read an article the other day called, “The Missing Word in Our Modern Gospel.” The missing word is; repentance.
You put him to death.
This is so important, you can’t get to God’s grace by avoiding repentance. Repent, and you’ll find grace. Repent, don’t try to ignore your sin struggle! When we try to hid our sins struggles, we look like hypocrites and we end up devoured by the very thing we try to hide. That being said, don’t be destroyed by it—bring it to God! Your sin isn’t greater than God’s power. Notice in one breath Peter says, “You killed him.” And in the next he says, “God raised him.”
But God
Fourth - look at v. 23 again.
Acts 2:23 NIV
23 This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross.
You and I have freedom to make choices, but that freedom rests within God’s plan. People argue over the silliest of things. Is God sovereign? Or, am I free to make my own choices? Both are true, God is sovereign and my choices matter. Do I always understand that? No! But what is clear helps me when some things aren’t clear. Scripture is crystal clear on this; God offers salvation through his son and you have to accept that gift.
Acts 2:36–37 NIV
36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” 37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
Acts 2:37 NIV
37 When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”
Lord and Messiah
They were cut to the heart. Suddenly the weight of their sin was overwhelming. This is the first step of salvation. Have you ever been there when…? What hope do we have?
This is so important because of what happens next. Peter doesn’t give them a bunch of hoops to go through; he provides a pathway of grace. This is God’s design. When you get it, this isn’t a burden, it’s a gift.
If I had to be...
Acts 2:38-41
Acts 2:38–41 NIV
38 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. 39 The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.” 40 With many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, “Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.” 41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.
His message is no different today.

Why should we be baptized?

Repentance - baptism - forgiveness - Holy Spirit
Notice the what rises to the surface in this text: repentance, forgiveness of sin, and the presence of the Holy Spirit all are associated with our decision to be baptized.

Why do we baptize?

What is baptism? Baptism is an outward demonstration of an inward reality. It’s a faith response to God’s grace offered in Christ Jesus.
Baptism is an announcement. Five things you announce in your baptism:
First, you’re announcing that Jesus is Lord and Savior—he was crucified, buried, and raised to life.
If he is Lord - I’m not, neither is the way of the world. If he is Lord, my allegiance is to him above everything.
Second, you’re announcing your personal need for repentance on account of your sin.
Unless you understand that you need a savior, why would you need Jesus? Baptism is an act of honesty.
Third, you’re announcing that Jesus is the one who can give the forgiveness you’re looking for.
Illustrate with Danny’s baptism.
Fourth, you’re announcing that you want Jesus’ work in your life and you want the Holy Spirit.
Fifth, you’re publicly announcing that you desire your primary citizenship to be in Heaven.
I’ve heard people say, “Do I really have to get baptized?”

If it meant forgiveness of my sins, the presence of God in my life, and eternity with God, I’d be baptized 3 times a day for the rest of my life.
Baptism is an outward demonstration of an inward reality.

Who do we baptize?


According to Peter, repentance and baptism go hand in hand. What’s the result of baptism? Forgiveness and the gift of the Holy Spirit. In other words, you are freed from sin, and adopted by God the Father. We baptize anyone who can and is wiling to make the choice to repent from sin and turn to God.
Am I turning baptism into a work? Oddly, I never hear people ask that about repentance. And the irony is, repentance is something I do, and baptism is something someone else does to me. Let me say this with absolute clarity - we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. That faith is demonstrated primarily in repentance and baptism.
Over and over in the NT we find people who have come to faith in Jesus, responding by being baptized.
Contrast infant baptism and it’s origins. Infant baptism is more philosophically appealing than biblically appealing.
Is there an age of accountability? Or, should we begin to think of a condition of accountability?

How do we baptize?

The Greek word βαπτίζω means to dip, drown, or to sink a ship. Sometimes it was used to describe the way fabric was dyed. The fabric was one color then it was baptized, it was dunked, and it was changed forever.
The only water baptism in the Bible is full body immersion.
Refer to baptism in the Didache.


Why do we baptize…because the NT describes baptism as part of our response to God’s gift of salvation.
Who do we baptize…those who are old enough to understand their sinfulness and accept God’s grace through Jesus Christ.
How do we baptize…through full body immersion, as we see in the NT.
Just a couple of closing thoughts:
For those who haven’t been baptized: I hear people ask; when should I be baptized? This is easy. If you believe in Jesus but haven’t been baptized, the answer is now. The clear pattern in Acts is that a person is baptized when they recognize they need and want God’s grace. It’s how we announce to God, the church, and the world; Jesus Christ is enough for me---he’s my hope and future. Seriously? Seriously.
For those who have been baptized. This is particularly for those of us who have been baptized a while. I was baptized 30+ years ago. Sometimes we may think; that was such a long time ago. I’m not sure I really knew what I was doing. Should I be baptized again?
Let me see if I can make this make sense: I married my lovely wife, 25 years ago. I was about 12. I can promise you with no uncertainty, I had no idea what I was doing. Regardless, I stood before my family, friends, and God, and I declared a love that would change my life forever. It’s not all that helpful for me to go up to Tracey and let her know that I really had no clue what I was getting myself into. I honor her and our wedding, when I live the vows—when I live the out the declarations I made. Baptism is the same, it’s not all that helpful to spend a bunch of time pondering what you did or didn’t know. If you want to honor your baptism, live it.
Holy Spirit
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