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Series: The Sacraments
Rev. Audrey Spencer
Introduction: We continue in our teaching of the sacraments. Last week we spoke of the Lord’s Supper and the mystery of it. This morning we hear the mystery of Baptism. Baptism is our new life in Christ, whether we have been baptized as an infant or adult. The United Methodist Church believes in the sacramental and the evangelical means of baptism. God grace poured on both infants and adults to wash our sins and incorporate us in the family of Christ to then live out our baptism in the resurrection of Christ.
What does Baptism do? Baptism is the agent that flavors and shapes our worship, our schooling, our family life, and our personal life. But baptism is much more than a ceremony. The ceremony in church serves to point to “the more” and to confirm it. Without a baptism we might hear that more clearly. Our baptism tells us that we were “baptized” into Christ Jesus. The meaning of that may not be immediately clear to us. The word “baptism” is a foreign word. Maybe that is why we do not normally think about baptism all that much and associate it with, or limit it to, a ceremony in church. The word “baptism” means: dip, immerse, wash, to be drenched with, to be plunged into, to sink into, to be dyed or colored with. To be baptized into Christ is to be dipped into, immersed into, drenched with, colored with Jesus. But a reminder appears to be necessary. “Don’t you know?” You were immersed into Jesus. Therefore:
• When Christ died you died.
• When he was buried you were buried.
When he arose to a new life you arose to a new life. Baptism is a visible sign, a constant reminder, a road sign, pointing us to who we are in Jesus. It affirms our identity in HIM.
• It tells us that we are part of a new people, the people of Jesus.
• It tells us that we are no longer immersed in Adam but in Jesus.
• It tells us that we are no longer subject to death because of Adam’s sin.
• It tells us that we are subject to life because God immersed us in His Son.
How significant! How wonderful! Through our drenching in Jesus we have been “clothed with” Him, we have “put on” Jesus, Galatians 3:27 tells us.
What happens after Baptism? Every baptismal font calls out to us to live our identity in Jesus, to clothe ourselves with Him, to put away stuff that marked us before we died and arose with him, drunkenness, dissension, jealousy and the like according to Paul’s instruction in Romans 13:13 and 14. Paul says: God amazingly and surprisingly did something completely unexpected: He gave His Son Jesus to take away our sin, and to set our feet on a new path. God made His Son Jesus to be the head of a new people. God replaced the old humanity of which Adam was the head with a new humanity of which Christ is the head. The “one trespass” of Adam “resulted in condemnation for all people.” The “one righteous act” of Jesus “resulted in justification and life for all” (Romans 5:18, NIV). What God does goes beyond us. It is very hard for us to grasp such divine glory and grace. But what His action through Jesus means for us is that with Christ as our head, His dying becomes our dying and His resurrection becomes our resurrection. Through Adam, death and sin came into the world. Through Christ, life and righteousness has come into the world. Through Christ, life and righteousness has come into our life. What a gift! Do you believe that? We have been united with Christ in His death and in His resurrection.
See & realize the new YOU: Hear this: you have been raised to a new life and are able to be an “instrument of righteousness”. God sees you as worthy, as wonderfully made, as uniquely gifted by Him. You are able to rise above the violent and traumatic experiences that may have marked your past. No, you will never forget them. You may have scars; Hear this: you have been raised to a new life and are able to be an “instrument of righteousness .” See yourself as clean, able to learn new ways of being in relationship, and capable of self-control because the Spirit of God is within you. Count yourself dead to sin and alive in Jesus. You are more!!! Amen!