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How Full is Your Entrance into the Kingdom of God?

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First day in big public high school - nerve wrackig all around, but perhasp the most would be the cafetriea - what’s the big question - who do I sit with? What do people think of me?
Not that different - imagine first week at new job - what each supervisor thinks of me, will they give me some space, do they value the gifts I bring, am I just like a young rookie, or almst like a partner in this company.
Imagine first year being a 12 year old adopted into a new family. Why do many test with lying, ste4aling - question of acceptance and security. After puberty, around time leaving the house - many attachment issues surface again!
Each of these situations, highlight the partial not full entrance that peole have in a new kingdom. So much lft in the air, so conditional and partial is the welcome.But what about your entrance into the Kingdom of God- How full is that? Do you understand that this is why God gave us the sacrament of baptism -t ath disicples might liveinto the full blessings of being welcomed into HIs kingdom?
Key Truth:
Christians use of baptism by living in the certainty of their adoption, justification, and sanctification - realizing that it is through these promises that we have a true and full entrance into the kingdom.
We are baptized into the Name of our Triune God and this is a sign and seal of inward union that is our future life with God. Two sacraments sign and seal the same benefits of being being in Christ and therefore in union with the Triune Christ, but not in the same way. Baptism shows the beginning of the blessings of Christ’s covenant of grace, the Lord’s Supper shows the our progress in those same blessings.
What are these blessings in union with Christ that bring a union with Triune God, that baptism shows our initiation in , and Lord’s Supper our growth in? Listen very carefully baptism seals three covenant promises: i.) the promises of adoption by God the Father - where by we ad all lost our standing in God’s famly as true sons and daughters, slaves to sin, thinking got to earn back a palce in God’s gamily, ii. promise in the Son that we can be justified. And what ids the promised blessing from the Holy Spirit - iii. but our enjoyment of God through sanctification - enjoying God wihcih is impossible unless prgoresseively amore and more made like Christ.
Understand that Jesus was commanding the apostles, when someone taught in the gospel seeks to join them, it is by baptism they are to be inducted into the family and kingdom of Christ! And by our onoing use of our bpatism, thinking about it perosnally when celebrate any pbaptism in Church, - we are to be assured and grow in the these graces proimsed and sealed to us in baptism.
Last week I told you to look at sacraments a little like GOd’s sermon illustratios of the Gospel; you just like you look at an optical illusion - must meditate deeply on bpatism as its adminstered and tease out the inner meaning of what God is syiang in that water. What does this water mean to you and how do you take hold of the promises procalimed here more vividly because of your baptism?
That’s our challenge tonight to see the operation of the Triue GOd, each person of the Tirnity i our lives as signed and sealed in the outward water!
The outwad is important - God is ussing it to illustate and drive home thees promises, that all who enter the kingdom f God experience. The water even will work like a seal for you as you put your faith in these things. And the water is for all who are commited to the life of discipeship, to grow in Christ’s outward and real comunity, his earthly body the Church of Jesus Christ, the arean of Grace! Undestand then that the mere water cannot cause anyo to be saved, but nonetheless there is a coorespondence between what is is signified here and the sign of the water. God uses this bpatism and you baptism and mine to iniate us into His kingdom. How so?
Let’s first consider how this water is a sign and seal of the adoption by which all of us must enter the kingdom of Heaven.
A. The Water of Baptism is a sign & seal of washing our guilt and corruption away
We were created to live as true sons and daguhters of God - but its boththe guit of our sin and the corruption, warping of our human nature that keep us from livingin God’s household like that.
God wants to make a definite statement to any being made a disciple that they don’t entere the kingdom in a gradual, partial, step at time way - earning their way back into God’s family.
Think of how sudden and dramatic it is when a kid gets yanked out of a family - kidnapped, or CAS transplanted into another family foster family. Baptism is a picture like that we are transplanted and grafted into Christ, into HIs family, his kingdom.
This sign tells a disciple that Christ’s blood is the agent by wyhich we are no longer separated from His family. Original sin, actual sin, the corruptoion of our nature - kept us separated from God, but like circumcision bloody sign that a sacrfice is there from God, that cuts away our sinful nature, and gives us by grace a new nature - free from all guilt, free from all corruption.
calls this our circumcision in Christ. Like in circumcision it is a think promised to disicples, that they must take hold of inwardly. But the sign as predicted i the OT has been changed for the rest of time. Not bloody sign if initatio and entrance, but once for all blood, so now - cleansing sign - all come in clean, and fullly earned position in family, becuae of Christ’s righteousness:
. LIsten also to the context of 36:24-28
Ezekiel 36:25 ESV
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.
Ezekiel 36:25 ESV
I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.
I haveno doubt that this is what GOd wants ut o draw from our baptisms - by faith that’s happend to me in Christ. Not just justification, but God accepting me, me becoming one of his own, me walking again as true son or daughter in his way. Adoption by pure grace!
So again and agia day by day I can :
Hebrews 10:22 ESV
let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
Baptism is not first of all a sign of my faith or my righteouness, but of God’s gift of this blood of Christ, now water of cleansing given me. He wants you to know if you enter the kingdom by faith, you enter fully covered, he want syou to gorw in that awareness.
B. Sign and Seal of Justification in Christ
B. Sign and Seal of Justification in Christ
But gaze more deeply at this water it is a sign and seal of your justification by the Son. Here is the heart of themeaning of the water as a sign - just as if I never sinned - Christ saying - my blood for you , my death for you, my righteosuenss for you.
Paul is told by Anninias after the Damascus road incidient:
Acts 22:16 ESV
And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’
Doyou see how tight the connection is there. Baptism outwardly is to be how we are taught and assurred that our sins are washed away. says:
Galatians 3:27 ESV
For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Past tense undertanding that bpatism follows us, not jsut a fmily ceremony, or mere induction; but thse who today are clothed in Christ, is that you? YOu have been washed by the blood of Christ.
C. A SIgn and Deal of My Sanctification by the Spirit
Here is on ongoing reality, not jsut something acocmoplsihed and applied in full like justification, and adoption, but a growing reality, that baptism is to signa dn seal for me. What is the connection between water baptism and the baptism of the HOly Spirit - not compeltely unconnected…
We are not only washed by the blood of Christ, but also by the Spirit of Christ....
D. But whom - disicples outwardly in the church of Jesus Christ… including children… those in the arna of grace
Consolation to disciples:
The consolation of baptism is stated strikingly in the formulary for baptism: “And when one occasionally through weakness falls into sin, one must not doubt God’ s mercy or acquiesce in the sins: baptism indeed is a seal and certain testimony that we have an eternal covenant with God.”
The Lord thinks of his covenant and he who pleads on the grounds of the promises of that covenant, which God sealed and confirmed with our baptism, cannot be lost. God indeed says: “Though the mountains be shaken, and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken, nor my covenant of peace be removed, says the Lord, who has compassion on you” ().
What of those who reject there baptisms - adult or child -
In this way they actually tell the Lord that He might as well have kept his baptism to himself. But, with this, they are not released of their baptism, because now baptism becomes a sign of judgment for them which they will have to carry with them until the day of judgement. , now applies to them: “Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two of tree witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of Grace”?
It is understandable that it is said in : “It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them”. One can add that it would have been better if they had never been baptised, because God allows nobody to mock him. These people persevere in their sins although they know better. This is the reason why they commit the unforgivable sin against the Holy Spirit (; ; ; ).
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