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Baptism

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Baptism - Where We Have Been Forgetful  Colossians 2:8-14

I love the story about the older couple that had trouble remembering common, day-to-day things. They both decided that they would write down requests the other had, and so try to avoid forgetting. One evening the wife asked if the husband would like anything. He replied, “Yes. I’d like a large ice-cream sundae with chocolate ice cream, whipped cream and a cherry on top.” The wife started off for the kitchen and the husband shouted after her, “Aren’t you going to write it down?” “Don’t be silly,” she hollered back, “I’m going to fix it right now. I won’t forget.”

She was gone for quite some time. When she finally returned, she set down in front of him a large plate of hashbrowns, eggs, bacon, and a glass of orange juice. He took a look and said “I knew you should have written it down! You forgot the toast!”

Tonight we are going to look at our Baptism with the thought; Where We Have Been Forgetful.

You see I believe that our baptism is a mile marker in our life. But too often we forget. There are so many of us that struggle with our memory.

We all struggle with being forgetful. And spiritually we struggle even more so. Did you know that a majority of the passages in the Bible that deal with Baptism are written to Christians? You see often we use passages in Romans, Colossians, and 1 Peter to prove that you need to be baptized. That may be true but a majority of the texts were written to those who were already saved to serve as a reminder of their new birth.

You see to Paul baptism is a reference point, a mile marker in your life. This reference point serves to remind us of a couple of things.

1) That we are saved by Grace.

Anytime that we get all puffed up thinking that I can be good enough to save myself. My baptism reminds me that I can only be saved by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

I couldn’t save myself I have to rely on what Christ did to save me.

2) It reminds us of who and whose we are.

When I remember my baptism I am challenged to live like a child of God. I am reminded of the pledge that I made to God at that moment. And so a lot of passages in the New Testament serve as a reminder of that.

Let’s turn to Colossians 3 and look at what Paul has to say to remind us of our baptisms. In Chapter 3 we are going to be reminded of how a Baptized believer lives.

In the 1980’s a very popular show was “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” Hosted by Robin Leach. Well God had the idea first, and in Colossians 3 we see Lifestyles of the saved and forgiven.

Let’s start at verses 1-4

What is the first thing we should remember: I See Life From a New Perspective.

He says that we are in a new position. Look at the words that he uses here.

First of all he says that you have died. At the moment of your baptism your worldly self died. Not only have you died, but you have been raised. You didn’t have to stay down in the grave. You came up a raised new person.

Then he paints a beautiful picture when he says that you have been hidden with Christ. You are now secure with Christ because when God looks at you, He doesn’t see you, or all of your sins, or all the times you have blown it. He sees Christ and His righteousness.

And beyond that he says that Christ is your life. You now live as if your were Christ. The worldly passions, and struggles are dealt with as Christ dealt with them.

Paul says in his letter to Galatia “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered Himself up for me.”

My baptism reminds me that I am in a new position and I view life with a new perspective. There has been a radical change in my life. It’s not like Cinderella who is a poor girl and she get’s some new clothes and is invited to the ball. It’s like the ugly frog that is kissed by the beautiful princess and we are transformed into a handsome prince. It’s a radical change, and I need to be reminded of that. I don’t live the way I used to live and by the same rules that I used to live by. I have a new way of life because of my baptism.

I have a new position. Well what does that change? Look at what Paul says in verse 2 Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.

In my new position I am not concerned with the trivial pursuits of the world I am concerned with Godly spiritual things.

The second thing we should remember is: I lived with a new morality

Here Paul is going to begin to meddle in my life and yours.

Read verse 5-10

Not only do I have a new position but I also have a new standard.

About a year or so ago in Dear Abby and man wrote, “Dear Abby, I am having an affair on my wife with two different women and I don’t know what to do. Please give me some advice but don’t give me any of that morality stuff.”

I love Abby’s response. “Dear sir, The only thing that makes us different from the animals is morality. Maybe you should write a veterinarian.”

Guys, Paul is saying that we live by a different standard. Look at the list of things he deals with here. The things that we need to put off.

Listen to Eugene Peterson’s commentary on the list: Sexual promiscuity, impurity, lust, doing whatever you feel like when ever you feel like it, grabbing whatever attracts your fancy, bad temper, irritability, meanness, profanity, and dirty talk.

It is really interesting because you can tell as Paul is writing these verses that he’s struggling. He is saying your position has changed and you put those things behind you but you need to put those things behind you again.

Your position in life has changed, and now when God looks at you He sees the blood of His Son, but now you need to work that out in your life practically. Get rid of these things.

But look back at that list again. What are some of those things that are still carrying in your life? sexual sins, shameful desires, greed for the good things of this life, anger, hateful behavior, insulting talk, dirty language.

Paul is saying you got a bad temper? You are baptized you need to live different.

You have a quick tongue that has a quick come back or put down? You are baptized you need to live different.

You tell dirty jokes, or cuss? You are baptized you need to live different.

You see that’s not the way a Christian is supposed to live. We have this belief that when we give our lives to Christ that there are some pet sins that we are allowed to keep.

I have been saved by grace; there is nothing I can do to save myself. Jesus has been so good to me and His blood keeps washing me whiter than snow. And so because of that I have a little pet sin that’s just mine. And I keep doing it and God keep washing.

Paul says NO! You made a commitment when you were baptized to be Christ like and you need to clean house.

We have got to get rid of the gossip, and dirty jokes, and speeding, and cussing, and sexual impurity, and tempers, and everything else that we justify by saying that’s just the way I am.

When it comes to our Christianity we don’t need to teach that Baptism is a big deal we need to live like changed people.

I know that there are some here tonight that struggle with their language, tell dirty jokes, make hateful comments, and gossip. Let me beg you to put that behind you and live the life of a changed person. And let me remind you that you promised God that you wanted to live a Christ like life. So today put your sinful nature behind you and live a life that is pleasing to Christ.

The Third thing that we need to remember is: We are all equal in God’s eyes.

Read verse 11

Paul is saying here that in Christ there is no longer Black, Latino, White, or Asian. There is no longer man or woman. And there is no longer Southern and Yankee.

For a Jewish convert who grew up praying God, I am glad that I am not a woman, or a gentile, or a slave this was earth shattering. You see at our Baptism we were all made equal because we all came in through the same door.

Brothers and sisters,  at your baptism racism should have died.

Martin Luther King Jr. said that 11:00 on Sundays was the most racist time of the week. And unfortunately in 2008 he is still right.

I have been in churches that preached hard on baptism and were racist to the core. And our lives deny our baptism.

If we are a Baptized person then the color of your skin, the clothes you wear, or whether you call it a coke or a soda, or a pop, doesn’t matter because we are all equal in God’s eyes. We committed the same sins and needed the same sacrifice for that sin.

The Fourth thing we need to remember is: I experience life in a new family.

Read verse 12- 14

We were born at our baptism into a new family. And our Baptism is that mile marker that reminds us of that birth.

Brethren we have been told to long that religion is a private affair. We have taken the teaching that we are supposed to know God intimately and changed it to say, I don’t need the church. You know I really like God, and Jesus is just all right with me, but you can keep that church.

Guys you cannot love God and Jesus and be lead by the Holy Spirit and say I don’t want the church. And yet we all believe that that our spiritual journey is one that I have to take all by myself. You see I get to church as they start and leave during the closing processional. So I can get as little involved as possible because religion is just an individual thing.

Paul says at your baptism you were born into this family.

Barna research says that in the year 2000 90% of Americans believed in Jesus Christ. But less that 50% are involved in a church. George Barna says “Americans are primarily believers, they are not joiners.”

Paul confronts that. At the moment of your baptism you didn’t join anything. God added you to the family. It’s like your physical family; you don’t have any choice about the matter. We need to live that way.

Look at the list that appears here, a list of things that we need to put on and compare them to the list we looked at earlier of things we need to put behind us.

Let’s go back to Peterson: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline, even tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense, forgive as quickly and completely as the Father forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic all-purpose garment. Never be without it.

You know what strikes me about that list? It’s the fact that you can only obey that list in the midst of relationships.

How can you show compassion to people if you are not around them?

How can you be kind if you don’t know them?

How can you forgive if there are no dealings to forgive?

You see to do this you have got to find yourself in the middle of fellowship. And you are not going to get fellowship coming to this building for 1½ hour on Sunday morning, staring at the back of someone’s head. You get fellowship in relationships.

That’s why we have care groups, that’s why we have family picnics. That’s why we plan all these activities so that we can get involved with each other as a family.

We are called to be a family and not the Lone Ranger.

The problem is that we are prone to forget.

And when we forget we go back to the way of life before our baptisms.

You know what everyone here tonight is a great sinner, and we all have a great Savior. We don’t need to remember much more than that.

Tonight do you need to remember? Do you need to remember the time when all you wanted to do was live for Christ?

Or tonight as you remember, you now realize that everything is not all right. Tonight does God need to revive the fire in your soul and re-ignite the passion in your soul?

Tonighgt the invitation is yours.



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