Wednesday, January 9, 2008

What About Baptism?

I. What About Baptism? The Proclamation of God

Matthew 28:19-20
[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."

What is baptism?
Baptism is not simply water, but it is the water used according to God’s command and connected with God’s Word.
What is this Word of God?
It is the word of our Lord Jesus Christ, as recorded in the last chapter of Matthew: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.”
Taken from Luther’s Small Catechism Part 4 Question

God communicates grace through something physical.
1. Verbal vehicles: God’s Word
2. Visible vehicles: the Sacraments

Common misunderstandings:
1. “I was baptized Lutheran/Catholic or Christened Methodist, etc”
2. The amount of water is what is important

Important Questions...

Who’s idea was Baptism?
What makes Baptism—Baptism?
Who is Baptism for?

II. What About Baptism? The Promise of God

Mark 16:15-16
[15] And he said to them, "Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. [16] Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.

What gifts or benefits does Baptism bestow?
It works forgiveness of sins, delivers from death and the devil, and gives everlasting salvation to all who believe, as the word and promise of God declare.
What is this word and promise of God?
It is the word of our Lord Jesus Christ, as recorded in the last chapter of Mark: “He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; be that does not believe shall be condemned.”
Taken from Luther’s Small Catechism Part 4 Question 2.

Deliverance and Salvation tied to Baptism in Scripture.
A. Old Testament Parallels:
1. Noah: 1 Peter 3:18-21.
2. Moses and the Israelites: 1 Cor. 10.1-2:

New Testament teaching:
1. Colossians 1:13-14.
“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness
and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”
2. Ephesians 5.14

Important Question: I thought salvation was by faith alone in God’s grace alone? This sounds like our work of Baptism saves us? Isn’t there a conflict here? Important answer:

III. What About Baptism? The Power of God

Saved by GRACE ALONE through FAITH ALONE apart from “works done by us in righteousness.” (Titus 3:4-5a)

Titus 3:4-7
[4] But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, [5a] he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy,

There are a bunch of questions that are tied together, and their answer is also tied together.

What about Infant Baptism? Because…
“I thought Faith Alone saves.” “Babies can’t have faith.” “Babies probably don’t even need it because they are innocent.”
Or, “What if my faith isn’t very strong.”

So… Why is baptism important? (Titus 3:5b)

Titus 3:5b
[5b]by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit,

The Nature of Faith:
Faith alone in God’s Grace alone in Christ alone saves. But, faith must cling to something. Faith must be directed to an object. Faith must receive something. Faith must have confidence in something. When you say, “I have faith.” The next question is “Faith in what? Or Who?” Some would wonder about the quality or quantity of their faith or someone else’s faith, and call into question salvation.

The command and promises of God are always there and true. Our faith isn’t. Our faith falters. God’s promise does not.

How can water do such great things?
It is not the water, indeed that does such great things, but the word of God, connected with the water, and for our faith which relies on that word of God. For without the word of God, it is simply water and no baptism. But when connected with the word of God, it is a baptism, that is, a gracious water of life and a washing of regeneration in the Holy Spirit, as St. Paul says to Titus, in the third chapter: “According to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, which He poured out upon us richly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour; that, being justified by His grace, we might be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” This is a faithful saying.
Taken from Luther’s Small Catechism Part 4 Question 3.

What about infant baptism?

1. Do they need salvation? Yes!
That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. John 3:6

Because we are sinful from conception—from the time we have genetic material—we are in need. Even a newborn NEEDS salvation. Every generation needs a regeneration

Titus 3:5 “Regeneration” “Renewal” apart from God and his means, we are dead-unregenerate.

2. What does the Bible say about Infant baptism?
Larry Christenson says, “We are like a student who comes to the house of one of his professors to ask a question, only to discover that the professor is “not available.” The Bible doesn’t command infant baptism anywhere, in fact we see many adult (believer) baptisms—though this is to be expected in any missionary context. Ole Hallesby points out that the Bible never commands the participation of women in the Lord’s supper, among many other things that the Bible is silent about (Council members, Sunday school, confirmation, ordination, church year, POTLUCK’S).
But, whole household’s baptized in Acts, and promise in Acts to “to your children.”

What does the Bible say about an infant and faith and salvation?
Turn to Luke 18:15-17.
v.15 “Brepho~” used of infants, also fetuses.
Matthew 18:1-3
Entrance to the kingdom is as a child! Not innocent like a child, but repentant like a child (Illustrate a repentant--needy baby)
James 4:6-10
But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, "God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble." [7] Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. [8] Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. [9] Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. [10] Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.
Have you done that? True repentance is marked by desperation!

Mark 10:13-16
Whoever does not RECEIVE the Kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.

So the problem is not that infants don’t have the capabilities that adult do and therefore cannot participate in God’s means of saving us. IT is that adults must become as infants. Some of us better thank the Lord our parents brought us to Jesus as helpless babes, we might be too proud as adults. Now what?

If you or your family is unbaptized, would you seriously consider this message? We can meet this week.

If you are baptized, but have become comfortable in your lukewarmness, and feel self-sufficient, and filled with pride—repent! Go back and become an infant—helpless—desperate—dearly loved by Jesus!

IV. What About Baptism? The Purpose of God
1. Context: Romans 6:1a “What shall we say then?” ABOUT WHAT? Go back to Romans 5:18-21
5.18 Adam and Christ (Same with verse 19-21)
6.1 Libertinism? License to sin?
6.2 NO! I’m not talking about ignoring old Adam—hoping he will go away like that family member no one likes to talk about. Paul’s talking about killing him. He must die. We often treat sin from a fruit perspective. Prune and cut, when the problem is a root problem. Example of my painting van (bad body, paint, rust, but covered in a fresh coat of paint.)

Romans 6:1-4
What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? [2] By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? [3] Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? [4] We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

What does such Baptizing with water signify?
It signifies that the old Adam in us, together with all sins and evil lusts, should be drowned by daily sorrow and repentance, and be put to death; and that the new man should daily come forth and rise, to live before God in righteousness and holiness for ever.

Where is it so written?
St. Paul, in the sixth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, says, “We were buried therefore with him through baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we also might walk in newness of life.”
Taken from Luther’s Small Catechism Part 4 Question 4

“A Christian life is nothing else than a daily baptism, once begun and ever continued.” Martin Luther

1 comment:

Brother Paul said...

Hi Nathan,

I believe in alot of what you have said. Especially about infant baptism. I believe that baptism is not only necessary, but essential to salvation. I would like to talk to you more. Please read my site., and let me hear from you.

I think you might find it interesting. Are you really saved? Can you afford to be wrong???