What Is Baptism? (Romans 6:1-4)November 21, 2021 | Brandon Cooper
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All right, you can go ahead, grab your Bibles open up to Romans, chapter six. Romans chapter six will be in the first four verses this morning, as you’re turning there to Romans six, I had a professor in seminary who shared a story of his time in prison ministry. And so he was there leading a Bible study in a prison with a group of men who were newer to the faith. And so one of them said, at one point, I, sometimes I just, I don’t even feel like a Christian. And that my professor, you know, sort of nodded in agreement and said, You know, I get what you’re saying, you know, I mean, sometimes, I don’t even feel like I’m married. And this hulking figure of a man who was there because of a violent offense, you know, stood up, walked towards him, put his finger on his chest and said, Look, you’re either married, or you’re not. Which was, of course, precisely the point my prof was trying to make. And so it’s true. I mean, you are either married or you are not, that’s an objectively true statement. But the thing is, we might not always feel it. Certainly there are times in marriage, where you may think, you know, were more roommates than anything else at that point. But even if that’s our feeling, the reality is still there. And so on those days where you’re going, I’m not sure I feel married, you can still look down at your wedding ring, for example, and go okay, no, but it’s a real thing. And that reality matters. We see that because, for example, the rates of couples who co-habit How long they stay together versus those who marry are very, very different. So the reality matters. Now, as Kyle’s already hinted, our question this morning is what is baptism, as we continue in the series on the church gathering, but as we’ll see, marriage is a fitting analogy for baptism. Because what happens in marriage, it’s the start of a new life. And that’s what people I’m sure said to Lee and Jordan last night. You know, you’re starting your life together. Well, that’s baptism. Exactly. baptism symbolizes the start of a new life. baptism symbolizes the start of a new life. And that is a reminder that we often need for the reasons that Paul is going to explain to us in our passage here this morning, so I’m going to read Romans chapter six verses one to four. And I’m going to ask four and a half questions of the text and of baptism itself. Romans six verse one, what shall we say then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means?
Are those who have died to sin? How can we live in it any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with Him through baptism to death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too, may live in New Life. So there’s our passage, let’s ask the first question, the what question what is baptism? Exactly. Baptism is another of the sacraments or ordinances Kyle mentioned this last week when we looked at what is the Lord’s Supper are two sacraments or ordinances. I don’t care what when you call them sacrament, meaning that these are sacred moments. These are means of grace when Christ is spiritually present to us in a powerful way. So sacrament in that case, they are ordinances and that they are commands of our Lord Jesus, which is what ordinance means the new city catechism, which we’ve used here. Some of you may remember, when we used to have it up on the screen as part of our service. We’ll do that again sometime, but it defines sacraments are ordinances like this, the sacraments are ordinances given by God and instituted by Christ, namely baptism and the Lord’s Supper are visible signs and seals that we are bound together as a community of faith by His death and resurrection. By our use of them, the Holy Spirit more fully declares and seals the promises of the gospel to us. So that’s what sacraments are ordinances are and there is a relationship between the two sacraments. Kyle mentioned last week that communion is like a vow renewal ceremony. Well, if that’s the case, then baptism is a lot more like the wedding itself. Communion signifies our ongoing union with Christ whereas baptism symbolizes that initial union so that it is a one time event just like you only have one wedding ceremony marks a person as belonging to Christ and His Church. And in truth, it’s more like the wedding ring. And then the wedding ceremony because the ceremony actually unites two people in marriage, I got the privilege of speaking these words every now and again, I now pronounce you, man and wife and those words actually accomplish what they say baptism does not accomplish our salvation, we’ll need to talk more about that. But as a symbol of it, it is a symbol of our conversion, which is accomplished prior. As I said, though, baptism symbolizes the start of a new life. And so it is first and foremost a symbol, a symbol of our cleansing, and of our union with Christ. First Peter, chapter three, for example, speaks of the cleansing that happens. Speaking of the waters of the flood during Noah says this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also not the removal of dirt from the body, but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. So it’s cleansing at the level of the Soul, not just the level of the body is not the removal of dirt only. But this is a clear conscience before God and symbolizes our salvation, because, as Peter even tells us, we are saved by the resurrection of Jesus Christ saved in Christ now, in what sense then does it symbolize salvation? It’s weird, right? Can you all just look at me and go, Yeah, it’s weird. Okay. Like if you’ve been going to a Baptist church for 60 years, or something that seems really normal. We’re going to do today, we’re dunking someone in water in a public gathering. It’s weird. So how is this a symbol of our salvation? Let’s talk about it. It is a visual portrayal of our union with Christ, His death and resurrection. Look at verse four, especially we were there for buried with Him through baptism. That’s the part where you go underwater,
there’s a burial that takes place there and then raised with Him as we come up out of the water, which symbolizes our new life. Now, what exactly does Paul mean when he says that we are buried with Christ through baptism into death? This is not our own deaths, we could speak of that in Christian terms. Certainly, there is a sense in which we die to self take up our cross, right. But that’s not what we have here. This is actually our participation in Christ’s burial. Commentator Beasley Murray says it like this, it is not that the believer in baptism is laid in his own grave, but that through that action he has set alongside Christ Jesus in His, that’s our union in Christ. Now, we do have to be a little careful here, because both Peter and the verse we already looked at, and Paul and other pastors use baptism as shorthand for the conversion process as a whole. But we know that baptism doesn’t save. And like I’m just contradicting Peter, that verse that was up there, right? Baptism. This symbolizes the baptism which saves you, but it’s not baptism, baptism symbolizes that salvation. How do we know that? Well, because what does Jesus say to the thief on the cross? Today, you will be with Me in Paradise, but he was not baptized. They did not have that in their little Roman, you know, process right there, we can take it down, we can baptize you will quit will put you back up. Nothing like that happens. Okay. So we’d be contradicting Jesus to suggest that baptism saves us we’d also be contradicting the rest of the New Testament to I could quote about 800 verses here, we’ll let to suffice. Here’s Romans 322. This righteousness is given through baptism, and Jesus Christ who all who are baptized. Know, this righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe it is faith that saves us or Romans 10 Nine, if you declare with your mouth, Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. And this whole idea of confessing with our mouth, that public testimony is an important part here as well, because baptism is more than just a symbol. It is also a testimony and a public declaration. Again, much like the wedding ring, the getting of the ring and the wearing of the ring. It’s a way of saying, I’m married. And baptism was a way of saying, I belong to Christ by faith. And this is part of the reason why and we’ll look at this a little bit later. It’s so tightly connected to membership in a local church right from the beginning. Look, here’s like the day when the church is born, Acts chapter two, verse 41. This is Peter speaking, Pentecost and what happens right afterwards, those who accepted his message were baptized and about 3000 were added to their number that day. So they repent and believe they’re baptized as a public testimony of their faith in Christ, and then added to the church’s number. That sequence by the way is really important. It’s going to take us into our next question. Who? Who is a candidate for baptism? Or another way of asking it would be when should baptism happen? If you read X, the pattern is overwhelmingly clear. How clear is the pattern in X, we preached through x here was the second series that I did at his church. And by the end of our preaching through Acts, I had someone come up and say, I need to be baptized. Because it was just that clear. We just keep reading people would repent and believe and get back to repentance and get back to repent and believe and get baptized. And so that’s the sequence they hear the Gospel repent and believe and are baptized usually shortly thereafter, just what let’s scroll through acts quickly. All right, so we saw it in Acts 241 already accepted the message and were baptized that very day in Acts chapter eight, the Samaritans believe Phillips gospel, even Simon the sorcerer, and are baptized later in Acts chapter eight, the Ethiopian eunuch and what does he say once he comes to Christ? He says, Look, water, let’s do this thing, okay? And He’s baptized. Right then Acts chapter nine. Not an important figure in church history. I know. But Paul believes and is baptized by Anand is some three days later Acts chapter 10. Cornelius and his friends believe, and despite Peters astonishment, that the Gentiles are accepted into the kingdom, they’ve received the Spirit quite clearly. And so Peter goes,
I guess we’d better baptize you then. So that’s how that one works. By the way, another indicator that baptism doesn’t save, because these Gentile converts received the Spirit first clear evidence of salvation and then are baptized Acts chapter 16. Lydia believes and is baptized along with their household, even the Philippian jailer and his household later in that chapter. And this one is amusing because it’s the middle of the night, and they’re like, that’s fine, we will find water. We’re going to do this thing Acts chapter 18. Crispus and some other Corinthians, Acts chapter 19, we have the disciples of John, they’ve been baptized by John the Baptist, but had not been baptized into Jesus yet. And so that happens then as well. In every case, it’s the same thing. They’re converted. Right? They repent in belief, and then they’re baptized seems to answer our two questions. Who believers in Christ Jesus, when, after conversion, again, like a wedding ring, you don’t put this on prior to your marriage. It happens as you are married. This is the assumption of our passage as well. Paul here in Romans six one to four is clearly speaking to believers. You can see it in verse two, we are those who have died to sin, perfect tense already happened. So these are believers, and thus have been baptized. In fact, that’s exactly what we see throughout the New Testament. Baptism is explicitly linked to our conversion. Even in the epistles. This makes sense because that’s what baptize what baptism symbolizes our conversion. Galatians 327, for example, for all of you who are baptized into Christ, have clothe yourselves with Christ. You want to do a Venn diagram of those who have been baptized and those who have clothed themselves with Christ. It’s just a circle, just one circle. That’s what Paul’s saying here. Colossians 211 and 12. This is an important passage, we’ll come back to it later. In Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision not performed by human hands. Hang on to that, okay. We’re not talking here about physical circumcision, but about spiritual circumcision. What Deuteronomy refers to as the circumcision of the heart, your need that later, okay, your whole self rule by the flesh was put off when you were circumcised by Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, which you were also raised with Him. Here’s the key phrase right through your faith, through your faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead. Now, I said, this is an important passage. And this is an important passage because of for baptism, the whole baptism conversation, because it links the New Covenant symbol of baptism with the old covenant symbol of circumcision. And with that, let’s just dive into the deep end. Okay. It’s been far too long since I’ve stirred up controversy, mostly because Kyle preached last week. So it’s been two weeks now.
Not everyone agrees at this point. These questions. There’s some debate really from the time of Augustine right around 400 BC until the time of the Reformation, the church practiced infant baptism only, of course, many of the giants the reformation is we’ll come back to taught infant baptism as well. I want to say two things here equally strongly, if I may, I have only the deepest respect for my Presbyterian, reformed, Anglican, etc. Brothers and sisters in Christ. I’m talking about Agustin and Luther and Calvin And, and Edwards and people, contemporary, some who’ve just died like J i packer, RC Sproul. And then Tim Keller is still around. So these are heroes of the faith. These are people I quote regularly, you know all those names because I quote them so often tremendous respect. If any one of them asked to preach here, I would be like, yes, right now is fine. In fact, because you’re better at this than I am no doubt. And it’s a reminder then also that this is not a primary doctrine. It is not a primary doctrine, meaning we’re all saved. This is a disagreement. Okay, that’s fine, but not a primary doctrine. So deepest respect, first thing to say second thing to say, I still think they’re wrong. Okay, I still think they’re wrong. And it is tough for me to say that because these are heroes. But I want to briefly explain why we practice believers baptism here. First, most importantly, I see no textual evidence for infant baptism anywhere in the New Testament. It is true that we see entire households baptized in Acts chapter 11, twice in Acts chapter 16. And once in chapter 18. In every case, except for Lydia, we read explicitly that the entire household is baptized because the entire household is saved. And by the way, if there’s one Greek word we know here, it’s only costs, which means household. And we know that that also includes more than just the nuclear family anyway, so we’d be talking about servants, as well, but the entire household is saved. And it displays evidence that they’re aware of their salvation. We cannot be talking about infant because it says things like they believed and they rejoiced. Acts chapter two, verse 39, we’ve already been in verse 41, verse 39, is an interesting one, because it seems to point to the fact that children of a believers will be saved as well, this we read this, this is Peter, the promises for you and your children, and for all who are far off for all whom the Lord our God will call. But we certainly know that this cannot mean children are automatically called Do I think that God intends to save the overwhelming majority of children placed in Christian homes? Yes, absolutely. But if not automatic, we know this, because of course, not all the far off are called because if we’re going to baptize the children, because of this passage, we need to baptize everyone who’s far away as well. That would have been from Jerusalem. Of course, that point No, it’s the call. That is the determining factor. So I don’t see any textual evidence. Second, we’ve got some profound theological disagreements here as well. Unfortunately, this is kind of like in the weeds, theological disagreements that relate to the nature of the church, and the nature of the covenant, which are very much related. The old covenant was a racial and national covenant, so that you belong to to the covenant community by birth, are you a descendant of physical descendant of Abraham, then you belong by birth to the Old Covenant community, which is why circumcision is practice just eight days after an infant male is born. But we also know that, as Paul says, elsewhere in Romans, not all Israel is Israel. There’s a spiritual Israel and there is a physical Israel, you read the prophets, for example, you can see quite clearly that many circumcised people did not have circumcised hearts. That is, they did not have faith again, that takes us back to clashes to that important passage. What matters here in the New Covenant community is spiritual circumcision, that which is not done by human hands. The church is a community of those with circumcised hearts.
In other words, it’s a community of those who have repented, and trusted in Christ. And that is how the church is always described throughout the New Testament, you just see, we are talking about those who are in Christ. Now this is related to the issue of covenant. As I said, most infant Baptists would teach the idea of a covenant of grace set against a covenant of works. So the covenant of works lasts up until Adam and Eve mess up. So page one of your Bible is the covenant of works, basically. And so if you will obey and not eat this fruit, then great, we’re good, we’re golden. And then as soon as they eat the fruit, we now have a covenant of grace in place. And so that then links the Old and the New Testaments to the old new covenants much more strongly. In one sense, of course, this is kind of true. That is from Genesis 315, where the woman seed is going to crush the Serpent seed like there’s the gospel, and it’s one plan of redemption that is unfolding. Of course, we could say that that even goes farther back you read in Ephesians, one Titus and other places that God has called us from eternity past. So even before the covenant of works, the covenant of grace was in some sense already there. My bigger issue, though, is that this is just not how Scripture speaks of it. So it’s true covenant of grace doesn’t show up in Scripture. Now, that is the word trinity. And I’m a big fan of Trinity. So that’s not determining or anything like that. But we just see that there’s ruptures at certain point in redemptive history, like Genesis three, of course, is a rupture. But so is the calling of Abraham, like this is an entirely new beginning in the story. Now the covenants with Moses and David, that’s sort of an expansion of the Abrahamic covenant, I would say that, when we come to the new though, we know that this is a serious like cataclysmic event. And so we don’t want to flatten scripture here, because that would fail to account for the newness of the New Covenant. You look at Jeremiah 31, or you look at Ezekiel 36. And you can see the new covenant means the old ones obsolete, like Hebrews is all about that argument right there. And so there is some sense in which the old covenant is done with, there’s a discontinuity here, part of the new covenant is the fact that then the covenant community is no longer a mixed community of believers and unbelievers. Now, by that I mean, the invisible church, not the visible church, anytime we show up, guaranteed, we got a mixed community here, right? But that’s different. That’s just the people in the gathering we’ve read about that earlier, inquires will come into our gatherings for example, that’s not what I’m talking about here. But here’s what I mean by the New Covenant community is not a mixed community, but it’s only believers. Look at Galatians three will converse seven and then verses 26 and 27. Understand then, that those who have faith are children of Abraham. So how do we determine who are the spiritual descendants of Abraham that the New Covenant community, it’s by faith a little bit later in the chapter then so in Christ Jesus, you are all children of God through face, for all of you who are baptized into Christ have closed yourselves with Christ. I’ll just make one other point too. If you read infant Baptists, they will often deny their own logic in defining baptism. So I read Calvin’s institutes of the Christian religion this year, I love Calvin, my favorite theologian by a longshot agree with almost everything he says. And I’m reading through his section on baptism going, Yes, amen. This is good. And then all of a sudden, he denied everything he had just said, I’m not the only one who have noticed this by like, because Calvin says things like this, from this sacrament, as from all others, we obtain only as much as we receive in faith a little bit later our faith, our faith receives from baptism, the advantage of its sure testimony to us that we are not only engrafted into The Death and Life of Christ, but so united to Christ Himself, that we become sharers in all His blessings that is only true of those who belong to Christ by faith. And as Carl Bart who then said, well, in that case, baptism can be no kind of infant baptism. How strange that Calvin seems to have forgotten this in his next chapter, where he sets out his defense of infant baptism. Now a quick word to those of you who disagree with me, some of you are very hot around the collar right now I know who you are, you know who you are, you know that I know who you are. We’ve had these conversations before, of course, you are loved. And you were very, very welcome here. I know that some of you hold the infant baptism position. Because you have done a lot of hard work and it is for you a functional non negotiable at this point.
There’s nothing I said here this morning, that’s gonna make you go. I’ve never thought of that before, because you’ve read the Baptist just like I’ve read the infant Baptist. Fine. There may be some of you here, though, where you’ve not heard this before. And so let this be a challenge to you to just see what Scripture says you can have the heart of the Bereans and go and examine the Scriptures. But most important thing is to say, Yeah, we disagree. And we still love each other practically, that I got one more who when sort of question, When should we baptize children? This one gets tricky. For those who practice believers baptism, we certainly all agree that children can be saved truly. When you see Jeremiah and John the Baptist are saved in utero even Oh, that’s a unique call. Needless to say, we know that they can hear the Gospel that they can understand that they can repent and believe so the question is not whether children can be saved. The question is whether or not the church is capable of discerning a credible profession of faith. And I would answer that question in the affirmative. At what age? I don’t know. Somewhere in there. Right in there, okay. Why? Because, certainly, we need to be careful as we do this, and we need to have a number of eyes looking at our children that his parents don’t baptize. As children, the church baptizes children, and so we’re gonna have other people look as well. And we got to take this in a case by case basis. That’s why we don’t have a you cannot get baptized until this age, because it’s not what Scripture says is we’re not going to do that. I think there’s also a certain acknowledgement here that we just might get it wrong sometimes. In fact, church discipline is an implicit acknowledgement that the Church will baptize people where they then need to say, we can no longer affirm what we affirmed in baptism previously, so we will get it wrong sometime. But we’re going to be very careful, just the same how? Third question, so we got the what is baptism, who and when we don’t agree, but hey, we’ve got the answer, at least, and then last or not last, next, how, in keeping with the symbolism of our being buried, and then raise to new life with Christ, what we see here in Romans six, we practice baptism by immersion. The imagery of sprinkling is biblical, and beautiful. And I don’t want to discount it. Here’s Ezekiel 3625. And 26, I will sprinkle clean water on you and you will be clean, I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you are removed from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. That’s conversion, right. That’s what baptism symbolizes. And here we’ve got sprinkling. So why don’t we do sprinkling because that’s not what Christ’s commands are what Paul describes. That’s why, in fact, it’s right here in the text, because the word baptize is here in the text. Now, the word baptize is just a Greek word. They didn’t translate it for you. They just wrote it in Greek. So now you know, oil costs and Bob Tiesto. You’re like halfway there. Okay, so this is great. So it’s a Greek transliteration. So what does baptize mean? If we were to translate it instead of just transliterate it, it means to dip, to plunge to immerse. So to say, as our statement of faith does, we practice baptism by immersion is woefully redundant. We practice baptism by baptism, or immersion by immersion. It’s there in the root word. It’s also there throughout the New Testament. Anytime we have a baptism physically described in the New Testament, including Christ, it involves immersion. So that’s what we practice now, the mode of baptism. Okay, fine. I would argue much more important than that, in the how question here is that it takes place in a local church. Baptism is
part of the church, the life of the church, you’re not baptized at a summer camp, you’re not baptized at your Christian school, we see that again, Acts chapter two, verse 41, they were they believed they were baptized, and they were added to the number added to the membership at that point. This is the reason why we cover the sacraments or ordinances in a series on the church, because they’re so tightly connected. In fact, it’s mark number two of a true church. So there’s a few weeks back, what are the marks of a true church, the word rightly preach, we did that two weeks ago, the sacraments rightly administered. Just last week, and this week, why? Wayne Grudem will help us out here he says this, the practice of the sacraments is considered a mark of a true church because the sacraments can serve as membership controls for the church. That is baptism as a means for admitting individuals into the church, and partaking in the Lord’s Supper as a way those members continue to show their good standing with the church body. So if baptism is the wedding, Lord’s Supper is the date night. And in fact, the last remark, which is discipline rightly practiced, could at its most extreme be the divorce. What happens in excommunication was no more Lord’s Supper. And we’re saying we can no longer affirm what baptism declared. So that’s the bad side. But on the flip side, the good side, it does mean that baptisms should be followed pretty much immediately by membership in the local church, like it should happen. They get baptized and like a few weeks later, we’re voting on them for membership kind of thing. The New Testament cannot envision an unbaptized Christian, at least not for very long, or an unchurched, Christian. They’re both oxymorons, and they’re both related. Are there exceptions? Yes. We saw one already Acts chapter eight, the Ethiopian eunuch was not baptized in the church. That’s because no church existed there. So this is definitely an exception. And that would be true on the mission field, even today, where you may have to baptize a few people before you’ve got a church of any significance there. Are there other exceptions we could think of someone who converts on their deathbed who maybe is not able to be immersed? Can we do a sprinkling then? Sure. Or what about somebody who has significant anxiety disorders? Who decides to pre record testimony and baptism because I just can’t do it in front of a gathering of 200 people? Sure. But the whole point is those are exceptions to the rule. Last question then is why. And we’ve got to have this one here too, because I’m worried this morning. More so than usual, even I don’t want this to just be information transfer, like you have learned some church history, and you’ve learned some biblical theology. And that’s great. I don’t want to discount either one of those things. But why does it any of it matter? Why are we talking about it? Paul is not giving a lecture on baptism here. He is talking about a spiritual crisis. Can we presume upon grace? Can we keep sinning because we’ve been saved by grace alone through faith alone? May it never be, by no means he says, Why? Because we’ve died to sin, under the water, and now can live a new life raised out of the water. So that baptism changes us It symbolizes the start of a new life. Again, it’s like a wedding or even the wedding ring. One of the things a wedding ring does is what? You’re on a business trip, you’re there in a restaurant or something like that. And somebody of the opposite sex is making eyes at you and you go. This doesn’t happen to me, but for those of you who are better looking than I am, that’s the whole point, though. You’re saying I’m not looking to pick somebody up here. Luther said it differently than I did. But it’s the same idea. Luther said, there is on earth no greater comfort than baptism was ever bold statement. Of course, Luther was better at stirring up controversy even than I, there is on earth, no greater comfort than baptism. And he was famous for fighting sin and Satan by saying, I am baptized. I am baptized. Why? Because it’s the same thing. What is he saying there? He’s saying, I will not commit spiritual adultery, which is what sin is. And so he’s looking at his wedding ring.
Not going there. I’m not going to do that. David Mathis says it like this. He says Luther was not claiming to be saved simply because he was baptized. Rather, he rightly perceived the wonder and glory of baptism, he saw the visible external act of baptism as an objective pointer to the invisible, internal reality of new birth, and the faith through which we are saved on the basis of Christ alone. Luther was, after all, the great champion of justification by faith, as well as one captivated by the power and grace of baptism. What is its power? It’s that it’s a sign. It’s a sign reminding us that we belong to God by faith in Christ’s finished work and not our let’s face it fluctuating performance. And it is a seal like the Kings seal stamped in the wax on a correspondence marking us as those who belong to God. So what do we do with this, I want to speak to a few different groups as we close here, first group, what I would expect to be the largest group here, which is baptized believers living new lives in Christ. What I want to say to you take your baptism seriously, like Luther, you may just need to walk around a little bit more often going, I am baptized, I am baptized, and know that that baptism provides us with a stable identity that literally nothing else does. I mean, you think you meet somebody, you know, new neighbor or something like that? And they say, Tell me about yourself. And what do you say? I’m a pastor at Cityview I’ve got 112 Kids, I like to play soccer. All three of those could go away. Right? I could get called somewhere else. Retire, kids are gonna fly the coop, my knees are gonna go But this remains I am baptized. Next group I’d like to speak to if you are an unbaptized believer living a new life, this one’s easy. It’s time to get baptized. It’s time to get baptized isn’t meant obedience to Christ, just let us know. We can put some eyes on you to make sure that we can affirm your testimony but it is time to get baptized and again, the New Testament has no categories for an unbaptized Christian. If you are the parent of children that you think are believers we got some work to do to what should you be doing pray first of all, pray primarily for the conversion for a long time there. It’s questionable. I pray for my kids for a long time, Lord, either save them by your grace or grow them in your grace. I can’t tell which one makes sense here. So I’m gonna gonna pray both for a while spirits gotta kind of thing. Pray but then start to discern. You are that first set of eyes looking at the child. And if you’re going I think she’s a Christian. Great talk to Kyle and Kyle will give you some resources. He’s got some great resources were tremendous help to us help you know, what sort of fruit are you looking for? You may not be the first set of eyes though. So pay attention if somebody else says it to you. You got your city link teacher or something like that grabbing you and going Hey, like I am Pretty sure, okay, great. You can have the conversation and teach your kids. Teach your kids the Gospel story, of course, teach them about baptism, as well. And it may be here if you know your kid is a Christian, like it’s quite obvious from a teenager or something like that. Well then encourage them to get baptized. I hope that some of the conversations coming out of the room today, our conversations are going, what are you waiting for? Let’s do this. Let’s do this. Now, another group, what about those who are questioning Christianity, or maybe professing Christianity but quite clearly not living a new life. And I recognize that that group may include baptized individuals, perhaps baptized as an infant, maybe even as a child. Let’s remember that the decisive factor in our salvation is faith in God’s grace and not baptism, which means you may need to if you’re not living a new life, go back and question your baptism. You cannot ride your parents coattails into the kingdom. So having been baptized as an infant, by your parents does nothing to save you. I don’t know anyone who would really say that among biblical Christians. But this is still a part of our culture very much like I know, many people who would state explicitly I am not a Christian, I do not agree with Christianity. And I had my infants baptized. At one point I a whole host of people. Of course, the thing here is we want our Christian I would think even unbelievers would say, Christianity ought to be biblical and not cultural. Like we can agree on that. So let’s do some examination here.
Look, honestly, I’m gonna I upset one group earlier, I’m gonna upset the other group. Now, I don’t care that much where you stand on the incident of the issue of infant baptism. Okay, you can get me in trouble later elders will fire me, like I said, Cityview not a part of my stable identity, I guess. What I mean by that is just again, we’re all going to be in glory. Those who believe in Christ, and so it’s not a hill, I’m willing to die on it. Certainly not a hill, I’m willing to kill people on and I say that because we’ve killed each other on this issue before, and how awkward it is to get to glory and be like, I am so sorry, I burned you at the stake. Since here we are neighbors for eternity, which the Lord did on purpose. I don’t care that much where you stand on the issue of infant baptism, I know what I think it’s my conviction. It’s what I teach. I don’t care that much where you stand on the issue of infant baptism, I care immensely where you stand on Christ. That’s what matters. So if this is you where you’re questioning, would you consider what baptism symbolizes? That would be your takeaway, we can bury our ugly past in Christ who took the blame for us. When you hit the baseball through the window, or whatever, and your friends, like, it’s cool, I’ll go, I’ll pay the debt. That’s what Christ did. For all our sin. He took the blame by trusting in his finished work, then we can be reborn, like a newborn emerging from the watery womb, into the newness of life. The invitation is always there, it has not changed from day one. This is Peter on Pentecost. Again, it’s what I leave you with, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins. Let’s pray. Father, encourage those of us who are baptized because of our faith in Christ with that baptism. Help us to remind ourselves like Luther that when we fight sin, we can fight it by pointing to our baptism. We see the evidence of that faith and the newness of life that we are living helped us to take seriously the means of grace that you have given us, Lord, how significant is that we have this sign and the seal upon us. Lord, for those who believe here, but who have not been baptized, would you do a work in them? To encourage them to make that public testimony to declare before the church before you and before watching world I am Christ’s? unto those still questioning, Lord, the invitation is there. The symbolism we’re about to see in the flesh? Would you help them to consider it? And would you thord spiritually, raise them to new life in Christ even now we pray in His powerful name, amen.