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Water Baptism Today

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So, if you’ve been with us, for the past several weeks we’ve looked at the topic of Baptism...
With us making our way through the gospel of John...
we came to John the Baptist being called by God to INTRODUCE Jesus Christ to Israel...
by water baptizing...
AND then we looked into the actual water Baptism of Jesus Christ...
Following those 2 sermons, we started last week with a SERMON that was of a specific style...
Typically, you will come to this building on a Sunday morning, and here a message...
…a message that typically makes 3-4 (hopefully clear) points...
…and provides you (hopefully) with some application of those truths as well...
Last week - I prefaced the sermon by letting you know - THIS IS NOT GOING TO BE A TYPICAL SERMON...
This ISN’T going to be a sermon that provides you with 3 solid points of application...
BUT INSTEAD...
you saw that the sermon last week - was a sermon where i laid out before you some of the questions that had arisen in my heart after actually studying the Bible, through the years, in relation to water baptism...
I let you know my thoughts on Water Baptism - that it’s an outward sign of an inner reality...
That it’s a Testimony of the faith we claim to have...
That WASN’T in question...
AND YET - the sermon took you to different text throughout the Bible...
...That SEEMED to ask the question - COULD IT BE?
I probably said that phrase “Could it be?” like 20 times last week.
Could it be - that when Jesus said to make disciples of all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit...
could it be - based on THOSE DIFFERENT passages we saw, that Jesus meant - the Spiritual Baptism that He ushered into the world?
That was the gist of last week’s sermon - and remember -
1 Peter 3:15 ESV
15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect,
Hear what this says...
It doesn’t say - HAVE THIS HOPE IN YOU...
It says - always be prepared to MAKE A DEFENSE to anyone who asks - FOR a REASON - for the hope that is in you...
We’re CALLED - to be able to answer the WHY questions pertaining to the Bible...
Not just - WHAT do you believe...
BUT - WHY do you believe THAT?
What does this imply?
It implies that we’re called to -
View the scripture
HANDLE the scripture
DIG...
EXAMINE…the scripture in SUCH a way that - THOSE around us - can what?
LIVE OUT 1 Peter 3:15...
- How many of you would be totally fine with your kid’s MATH teacher - if that math teacher taught this way...
SLIDE: Equation
OK, here’s an equation you all are going to learn today!
The answer is = 6.
And the class says - WOW - how did you come up with 6? That’s really the answer?
Yes - that’s the correct answer!
Ok, show us how you get 6...
OH - well I don’t know how to do the actual math
I can’t show you THAT!
What do you mean? You don’t KNOW how to complete the equation?
NO i don’t!
oooookay....then how do you KNOW the answer is = 6.
I just know.
That would probably be the worst Math teacher ever right?
The Bible calls us to - what - NOT simply KNOW the answer...
But to be ABLE to DO THE EQUATION...
To GIVE A REASON for the hope that is in you!
And so in thinking about last weeks sermon - or ANY sermon - I’m always going to try and go DEEP with the word!
And so - sometimes when you try to go deep - you may uncover some things that might lead to a - “could it be?”
TAKE ANY topic you can think of in Christianity...
Who in here thinks that ANY pastor, ANY person, has GOTTEN to the very bottom of ALL KNOWLEDGE / ALL TRUTH pertaining to - that topic?
That they’ve DUG so deep into the TRUTH of God’s word that they’ve made it to the DEEPEST part of God’s truth?
Romans 11:33 ESV
33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
inscrutable = impossible to understand or interpret
There is ALWAYS more to learn...
There is ALWAYS more to uncover...
And the sermon last week - was me having you jump inside my brain - to get a sense of the wrestling that i have gone through with the text of the Bible regarding this topic...
AND SO - understanding that last week focused in on those texts of the Bible that seem to TAKE water baptism and REMOVE it from the box that says it’s a command of Jesus Christ...
TO NOW THIS WEEK -
…where we’ll focus in on the verses that seem to place Water Baptism into the box that says it is a command of Christ...
SO, with that said....let’s get started.
As I HOPE you know by now, the main text everyone points to, to say that water baptism is a command of Christ - is...
Matthew 28:16–20 ESV
16 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17 And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
Hopefully you remember these verses from last week...
And so of course, reading this text on it’s surface, we see Christ Himself - telling the apostles to Go and MAKE disciples...
baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and of the Holy Spirit
…teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.
And then - fast forward now to the book of Acts, which as we know - tells us of the Start of the Early Church...
And as we said last week...
we begin to see water baptisms taking place...
Now, in regards to water baptism...if we're going to start a conversation regarding this topic, we must be clear in what it does and does not do.
between water baptism and Spiritual Baptism, it is Spiritual Baptism that saves us....not water baptism. Water baptism does not save...
If we were going to look at scriptures that discuss this Spiritual Baptism, we read this...
1 Corinthians 12:13 ESV
13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
Ephesians 1:13 ESV
13 In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit,
John 7:39 ESV
39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
Colossians 2:11–13 ESV
11 In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. 13 And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses,
Ephesians 4:4–6 ESV
4 There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
Titus 3:5 ESV
5 he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,
Galatians 3:27 ESV
27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
1 Peter 3:21 ESV
21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
And so here we see Scriptures that discuss mankind, BY THE MERCY of God - being placed - INTO CHRIST...
Being UNITED to Christ...by faith
And so what place does Water Baptism have?
If we look back to John the Baptist's baptism, believers were coming to him, confessing their sins.
And so by being water baptized by John...
They were identifying themselves with John's message.
They were declaring that they believed that their religiosity could not save them...
They were confessing their sins......and laying down their SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS...
AANNDD - by being water baptized by John they were declaring their belief that they WOULD find salvation in the - COMING MESSIAH...!
And so even with John's baptism - we see that water baptism was/is = an Outward Sign of Inner Reality
For those who came to John - their baptism was an Outward Sign of their Inner Brokenness...
And so John's Baptism was pointing to - shining a light on - the End of the Law for Righteousness
Christ was coming...And with that being true - the Law for Righteousness...was about to end.
Romans 10:4 ESV
4 For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.
And we say AMEN to this because...
Galatians 3:23 ESV
23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed.
Galatians 4:4–5 ESV
4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.
And having received adoption as sons....what’s the result of that?
Romans 6:14 ESV
14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.
And so - all this to point to the reality that now that Christ has come...for those who BELIEVE... ...all of our God-glorifying acts (good works) are now GRACE driven efforts...
...they EARN us NOTHING!
And so - water baptism...
We don’t believe it EARNS us anything...
Yet - back to the question of - IS IT COMMANDED by Jesus...
NOW - again - you of course can run straight to Matthew 28:19 and say - Hey Mike, idiot, just read it...it's obvious...
Matthew 28:19 ESV
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,
Now - we could just read this, close our Bibles, and head out to the nations, water baptizing people......
but as we saw last week, when it comes to the teachings of Christ in the Bible, 
...mankind almost ALWAYS misunderstood Jesus when He spoke.
AND SO - that alone should cause us to pause, and start to DIG - which we did last week.
BUUT, nonetheless, this verse - this is where we would start to say - yes - water baptism is a command of Jesus.
Now - it's always helpful to have evidence of something isn't it?
Evidence helps to build confidence that something is in fact true...
And so what we see in the book of Acts - is a plethora of water baptisms.
BUT As we saw last week - with those water baptisms ALSO CAME many questions...
I mean - if you actually read through Acts, with a focus on baptism, you'll see some odd things...to say the least.
IN the book of Acts, you end up seeing:
people called to get water baptized in order to receive the Holy Spirit
people who had believed, gotten baptized, yet didn’t receive the Holy Spirit until hands were laid on them
people who received the Holy Spirit, and then got water baptized
And so if you’re trying to figure out what was going on in Acts in regards to baptism and the Holy Spirit...
…it really was a hot mess...
So let’s look at an example of this…in Acts
Acts 19:1–6 ESV
1 And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. 2 And he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” 3 And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” They said, “Into John’s baptism.” 4 And Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in the one who was to come after him, that is, Jesus.” 5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking in tongues and prophesying.
Now - here we have some disciples that Paul comes across - and he's asking if they had received the Holy Spirit WHEN THEY BELIEVED.
They say - NO...we haven't even heard there is a Holy Spirit.
Paul then asks - well then - INTO what then were you baptized?And they say - INTO John's baptism.
Paul then says - John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling people to believe in JESUS.
On HEARING this - the men were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
AND when Paul laid his hands on them, THEN the Holy Spirit came on them.
NOW - tell me if I'm wrong, but does it not seem like this BAPTISM in the name of the Lord Jesus was important?
These disciples had submitted themselves to John's Baptism...
But Paul here, upon hearing this, makes them get baptized again - but this time - IN THE NAME OF the LORD JESUS...
And so this baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus - seems important. 
BUT WAIT.
Acts 8:14–17 ESV
14 Now when the apostles at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent to them Peter and John, 15 who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, 16 for he had not yet fallen on any of them, but they had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they laid their hands on them and they received the Holy Spirit.
So here now - we see that people in Samaria had been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus, yet the Spirit had not fallen on them.
They had submitted themselves to a Baptism in the name of the Lord Jesus...
ASSUMING they would have believed the message related to that baptism, YET - they didn't receive the Holy Spirit.
They needed Peter and John to lay their hands on them - THEN they received the Holy Spirit.
Is this not odd stuff...?
BUT - even so, there are some things laid out in Acts that do elevate water baptism as a command.
Something that we do see in Acts - is...
SLIDE: A Consistent Water Baptism Among the Apostles (in the name of Jesus Christ)

A Consistent Water Baptism Among the Apostles

NOW - today, we're all used to baptisms taking place - In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit...
But here in Acts, we don't see that.  
We see the Apostles consistently baptizing in the name of Jesus Christ. (AGAIN - not sure why based on the great commission call of Christ)
I've heard reasons why they would have only used the Name of Christ...but they fall flat on their face.
I've heard it said that by only using the name of Christ instead of the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, that it was teaching us that Jesus is God.
That is false.
The ONLY way that the single name usage of Jesus Christ would teach that Jesus is God, is if IN Matthew 28:19 = Jesus would have said, "baptizing them in the name of God"
If we want to RELATE the baptisms in Acts to the Great Commission, by saying that the single name usage of Jesus teaches us that Jesus IS THE TRIUNE GOD...
That’s actually not true.
That would actually be teaching - MODALISM...
What is Modalism? Modalism is the teaching that JESUS IS - the Triune God.
That Jesus IS the Father.
That the Father IS Jesus.
That the Holy Spirit IS Jesus...
This is Modalism, and it was condemned as HERESY in the early ecumenical councils of the church.
SO - - i can't explain why the apostles used the formula they used, but I CAN see it's a PRETTY consistent formula.  
Acts 2:38 ESV
38 And Peter said to them, “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.
In this verse, Peter uses the same verbage… as John the Baptist..
baptized for the forgiveness of sins...
THIS is actually however the only Acts baptism that uses the “For the forgiveness of sins” language...
All the others just say “baptized in the name of Jesus Christ” or “the Lord Jesus”...
So - MOSTLY consistent…?
And so I would assume that they were calling MEN to IDENTIFY themselves with the teaching and truth of Jesus Christ!
That's what we've always believed water baptism was - right?  
A public identification with the message of another.
And in this case - the message of Jesus Christ!
Another aspect that I believe points to water baptism being a command is...
SLIDE:  Water Baptism and Divine Guidance of Paul

Water Baptism and Divine Guidance

Acts 18:6–10 ESV
6 And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.” 7 And he left there and went to the house of a man named Titius Justus, a worshiper of God. His house was next door to the synagogue. 8 Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with his entire household. And many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized. 9 And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, 10 for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.”
Now - in verse 8, we see that the ruler of the synagogue - Crispus, BELIEVED in the Lord...
..along with his entire household...
And then it says - many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized.
Now - could this baptism had been a Spiritual baptism…like the one that happened on the Gentiles in Acts 10?
We actually know it’s a water baptism because of what we’ll read in a bit in 1 Corinthians..
SO - these people get WATER baptized...
And then we read this in v9 and 10 (read it)
The Lord here provides guidance to Paul and we notice that the Lord doesn’t say - “Hey Paul, no need to water baptize”
And so - In the Lord’s guidance of Paul, this water baptizing isn’t addressed, which you think it would be if the water baptisms weren’t commanded?
Something to consider...
Another thing we see in 1 Corinthians, speaks to this as well....
SLIDE:  Water Baptism and Division in Church: Paul’s Argument Against Division

Water Baptism and Division in Church

For this point, we need to go to...
1 Corinthians 1:10–17 ESV
10 I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. 11 For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. 12 What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.” 13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul? 14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius, 15 so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.) 17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.
So to recap what’s going on here...
We see that those in the Corinthian church were putting too much stock in those ministering to them...
They were in a sense, boasting in who they had as a Pastor...
I follow Paul...
Well I follow Apollos...
Well I follow Cephas...
Well, I don’t follow any of them, I.follow.Christ!
And Paul now, HATING that their is division in the church...
Needing to address their mindset...
Gives 3 arguments against this mindset that they had...
1 Corinthians 1:13 ESV
13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?
So remember - Paul is writing to the Corinthian church...
And the last argument he gives here he says -
“Were you (Corinthian Church) baptized in the name of Paul?”
Is Christ Divided?
Was Paul crucified for you?
Were you baptized in the name of Paul?
Couple of things:
This implies that most everyone would have been water baptized...
AND
Would have been water baptized “in the name of Jesus Christ”
....which falls in line with all the other water baptisms in Acts...
Not only that - but consider what Paul did here in presenting these arguments...
Argument 1 - Is Christ Divided?
He goes right to who Christ is.
Argument 2 - Was Paul crucified for you?
Here he goes to what Christ did for those in the Corinthian church (and His children)...
And then we come to Argument 3 -
And based on the fact that Paul used the crucifixion for the 2nd argument, one would think he would use the resurrection for the 3rd argument...
But he doesn’t...
He uses their water baptism to actually war against this division that was taking place...
I would contend that their water baptisms were actually being used as ammunition in the division...
And so Paul uses the water baptism so that he can put it in it’s proper place...
They were using their water baptisms to ELEVATE themselves...
By saying - I was water baptized by Apollos...
…well I was water baptized by Cephas!
And Paul sort of REORIENTS their minds on what their water baptisms were really about...
Paul makes it clear that their WATER BAPTISMS were supposed to be about ELEVATING Jesus Christ...
“Were you baptized in the name of Paul?”
Of course not - SO THEN DON’T ACT LIKE IT - Paul says!
Don’t ACT like Christ is divided…because He’s not!
Don’t ACT like your pastor was CRUCIFIED for you....because Christ was!
Don’t ACT like you were baptized in the name of your pastor…because it’s all about CHRIST!
Paul’s wanting Christ to be CENTRAL in their hearts and minds...
And so he uses those 3 arguments...
What have we seen today?
SUMMARY:
3 Evidences that Water Baptism is a Command of Christ
A Consistent Water Baptism Among the Apostles
Water Baptism and Divine Guidance
Water Baptism Defends Unity in the Church (Elevates Christ as Supreme)
As I’ve said before - If anyone has an interest in being baptized, come speak with the elders, and we will sit and talk through some things before making that happen...
Let’s Pray
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