Now is the Time Week #4 (Celebration Sunday)
Jason White



As we celebrate baptisms on this day, we ask and answer the question, “What is baptism from a biblical perspective?”







Read Sermon Transcript Here
Alright, so over the last several weeks, we've been saying that this particular Sunday was going to be what we've been calling celebration Sunday. And we have a lot to celebrate today, here in just a little while we are going to be announcing are now is the time campaign totals from commitment Sunday from last week. And that will include all of the gifts that were given and the pledges that were made, and we'll be able to celebrate those things. We have a karate ministry, here at Colonial hills, and there are eight people who are going from that karate ministry on a mission trip, we're going to be able to celebrate what God is going to do in and through them in advance, and you're going to get to hear a little bit more about that. And we're going to kind of commission them and pray over them as we send them out this week. And then at the end of all of that, we're gonna have the opportunity to celebrate new life in Christ. And we have at least eight people who are getting baptized in today's service. Yes. Sowe can certainly celebrate that already. Now, in preparation of that, I would like to do my message today on baptism and share with you kind of the biblical perspective of baptism, the the why behind, you know, the reason we do baptisms in the first place, there. The reason for that is because even though a number of us who gather for worship each and every Sunday, and have maybe been baptized at some point in our past, I don't know if we always fully know what even that meant, whenever we got baptized in in now, if we see it from a biblical perspective, we're going to walk away with much more of an appreciation of our own baptism that we experienced for some of us many, many years ago. The other reason is that there may be some of you who are here today who have never, never put your faith and trust in Jesus, you're just kind of here today, somebody invited you, or you came for some other reason, and you're just checking this whole thing out. And so you've never had a reason to get baptized, because you've never really even been much in church. And so today, you're gonna get to see what it's really all about, and why we participate in this act called baptism. And then finally, there may even be some of you who are here, who had been involved in church, you've understood what we call the good news that seen in Scripture, the Gospel, you may have even said yes to Jesus at some point. But you never followed that up through being baptized. Or maybe you were baptized as an infant, but never been baptized. That is what we call believers baptism. And so we're going to give you all the information behind that and kind of see why that is really an important step for each and every one of us to take on our journey with Christ. And so as we dive into this biblical perspective of baptism, we're going to see what it is and what it is not. We're going to start with what baptism is not. And here's what you need to know. A Baptism, the act of being baptized in water is not what actually saves us. It's not what rescues us from sin. It's not what gives us eternal life, we receive eternal life by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. We see this in Scripture in a number of places. Let me just highlight a few of them for you, John 316, most all of you know For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. Notice, there's no mention of baptism in that language. John just says, Believe in Jesus Christ equals eternal life. It is by grace alone through faith alone, in Christ alone, the apostle Paul puts it like this and Ephesians chapter two, verse eight, for it is by grace you have been saved through faith. Again, no mention of baptism here doesn't say anything about it says it is by grace that you have been saved. The grace means gift, it's a gift. It's something that God is trying to give to you based on a work that he's done based on the work that Jesus did on the cross to take all of our sins and pay the penalty for them, nailing them to the cross so that we wouldn't have to pay the penalty for those and he offers that forgiveness to us as a gift. And as Paul says here, we receive that gift through faith. It's just like any other gift that I wanted to give to you. If I said here I have a gift for you. It's not really yours until you receive it. You would have to walk up here and take the gift out of my hands and put it in your own possession for it to be made yours and we do that in theChristian life through faith is the way we receive this gift that Jesus is offering us. Let me read just one more Paul says it just a little bit differently in Romans five one where he says, Therefore, since we have been justified Notice again, through faith, we have peace with God. That's the result of putting our faith and trust in Him through our Lord Jesus Christ through the work that he did, through whom we have gained access, again, by faith into this grace, in which we now stand. Paul says you justified through faith, you gained access to God, you have peace with him, by faith, you've received it. So this is the first thing that we need to know if we're going to see the biblical perspective of baptism, we do not take a step of baptism, in order to give us eternal life. Baptism is not what saves us. But and this is point number two, baptism is a step that is commanded by Jesus to take after we have received that eternal life by grace through faith. After Jesus's death and his resurrection, he was meeting with his disciples before He ascended to the right hand of the Father. And one of the very last things that he told them, we see in Matthew chapter 28, verses 18 through 20. And he says there, then Jesus, Jesus came to them and said, All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me, therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age. So even though baptism is not a step that we take for salvation, as you can clearly see here, it is an important step that we take after we have received salvation by again, grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone. And after Jesus mentioned this to the disciples, and after He sent the Holy Spirit empowering him and putting them in union with Him, and He began to use them. This is what we see happening. They did go tell people, they did allow them the opportunity to receive Jesus by grace alone through faith alone in him alone. And then they were baptized. Immediately. They're after one of the places that we see this is right after Jesus gifts them the Holy Spirit in Acts, chapter two, Peter has been standing up and he's been sharing the gospel, the good news about who Jesus really is. And all of a sudden, the people who are gathered around, begin to go, oh, my gosh, we missed it. Like, like, we didn't know we didn't get it when Jesus was here. But now that you're explaining it to us, like it's so clear, like we completely see exactly who Jesus is, and what we missed out on. And they're like, Peter, what do we got to do? Please just tell us, we got to know now because we missed it. And here's how Peter replied to him, he says, 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, the promises for you, and your children, and for all who are far off for all whom the Lord our God will call with many words, he warned them and he's pleaded with him, save yourselves from this corrupt generation. And then listen to verse 41. Those who accepted his message, were baptized in about 3000 were added to their number that day. Okay, so Peter first tells them after they say, What do we got to do, right? He says, Repent and be baptized here. Now, that's a little different language than what I read to you earlier. And all of those other verses, and at first glance, you can say, Well, okay, now that one does say baptism minute, right, the other ones didn't seem to, but that makes it sound like we got to repent, and we have to be baptized in order to be saved. But that's not what Peter is saying, here. We what he's really saying here is is that to be baptized on the basis of forgiveness, the forgiveness of sins, that that you receive. I mean, that's really the language that he was using here. But it's also you've got to tie it into all those other things that I just said, If he really meant you've got to be baptized, then why didn't he say that? And the other apostles say it so clearly, in all of these other passages. What he's saying is, first and foremost, repent, which which here means for them to turn from what they had been believing in Jesus, and now turn to Jesus and receive Him byA faith, right they had missed it. They had been walking one way thinking one thing about Jesus. So he says, Turn in now believe this about Jesus, what is true and receive what it is that he's offering you in this moment. And when they do that, they are completely saved and have eternal life in that moment. And now that that's happened, be baptized is what it is that he's saying here. And they were like I said, in verse 41, they were immediately baptized, after they had put their faith and trust in Jesus for salvation. This is what we see at the beginning of Acts. It's what we see, throughout the book of Acts. You see it in the Ethiopian when Philip shared the gospel with him in Acts chapter eight, and he goes, Hey, there's water, why should not be baptized right now that I understand the gospel. And Philip goes, you should, and they hop out, and He's baptized. And it says, when he came up out of the water, and then there was this miraculous thing that happened, where Peter was no longer there. But one of the other things we see in that is, if he came up out of the water, that also means what? That he had to go under the water. And so we see that in a number of places as well, that the way that they perform this act of baptism was to be completely immersed in water. And we'll kind of talk about that, why in just a moment, as well. So it happened to Philip had happened to Saul, who became the Apostle Paul and Acts chapter nine, we see the Philippian jailer in Acts chapter 16. And he's about to harm himself because of what's going to happen to him because this miraculous escape from the disciples, and then they go, no wait, and then tell them about Jesus and he received Jesus and his whole household immediately gets baptized after they all come to believe in him as well. These are just a few of the instances in there. But what we begin to see is that this is the biblical perspective of baptism, you get saved by grace through faith in Jesus, and then you're baptized in water by immersion. This is the biblical perspective that we see of baptism. Now, there are other things to it as well. So it's not what saves us. But it is an act that we follow through with afterwards. And what it shows other people is a picture of what happens to us at the moment that we put our faith and trust in Jesus for salvation. There's a few different pictures or things that it symbolizes, which I want you to clearly see. And you'll see that when we baptize those a little bit later today as well. The first thing that it symbolizes is that your sins have been completely washed away. Again, the moment you came to believe in Jesus Ephesians chapter one, verse seven, Paul says, In Him talking about Jesus, so in Jesus, we have redemption through his blood, not through baptism that happened through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of His grace, what he gifted us that He lavished on us. First, John one nine says, the apostle John says, If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness when you and I come to the awareness that we are sinners, before a holy and a perfect God, and we confess, man, I've got a problem, God, I am a sinner, and I am in need of a Savior. And again, we receive the salvation that he is offering us as a gift. In that moment, John tells us that we're cleansed from all on righteousness. And so this is the picture that we'll see. That happened through baptism in just a moment. Each and every one of us take a bath or a shower or something in order to cleanse us from the dirt that attaches itself to us. Right, and that water is what cleanses that dirt away. Now, what it shows is the sin if the dirt, if you will, that's on the inside that's on our hearts has been cleansed and washed away by Jesus, the moment we put our faith and trust in Him. And so when we have someone that's been baptized, and we take them under the water, then we're saying they've been immersed in that water that's cleansed them from all of their sins, but it's really not the water. It's not anything that's happening in that moment. It's something that had already happened to them, but you can't see the inside of their heart. So we're showing you a visual picture of what happened to them on the inside of their heart. If you accepted Jesus and you've been baptized. That's one of the things that it was showing that you've been completely forgiven of your past, your present and your future sins. They've all been washed away the moment that you said yes to Jesus.Now, the other thing that it symbolizes is your death, burial and resurrection in Jesus or in Christ as well. Romans six, three, the apostle Paul says this, 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 into death, in order that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too, may live a new life. Now, the word baptism here is not being used in the sense of water baptism, it really just means to be immersed into Jesus, the moment that we put our faith in Jesus, we're, we're immersed into him. Another way of thinking about that is, whatever happened to Jesus happened to us, Jesus died, Jesus was buried, Jesus was raised to life again, in that moment of salvation, you and I experienced a co death, a co burial, and a co resurrection with Christ. This is what happens, the old self dies, the one that was in Adam, Scripture talks about this in Romans chapter five, that we're all sinners, being in Adam, with sin being introduced in and through him, we all have a problem, it's too big for us to overcome. Alright, so the old self dies, that old self is buried, and then we're raised up to this new life with Christ. That's what happens the moment we put our faith and trust in Jesus. So when someone steps into this trough to be baptized a little bit later today, when we dunk them under the water, once again, it's showing on the first hand that we talked about the cleansing of all of their sins that happen the moment they put their faith and trust in Jesus. But it's also showing you that when you take them under the water, that the old person, the one that was in Adam died, and they're being buried, and then we're going to quickly raise them up out of the water to show that their old dead self stays buried in the ground, but they've been raised up to new life in Christ.Now, again, the water isn't doing any of that. None of that is happening in the moment. That all happened the second that you said yes to Jesus. But this is a picture of what's actually happened to you. So the first picture, our sins are washed away. The second picture is the death, burial and resurrection, the CO death, co burial and CO resurrection that we experienced the moment we said yes to Jesus. Here's the final thing that you need to know about baptism from a biblical perspective. A Baptism identifies you is now being a part of the church that you belong to the church, we can take you to again a number of passages, I'm going to talk through it through what Paul says in first Corinthians 12, verses 12 through 14, where he says this, just as a body, though one has many parts. But all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one spirit so as to form one body, whether Jews or Gentiles slaver free, and we were all given the one spirit to drink, even so the body is not made up of one part, but of many. Now, again, baptism here is not referring to water baptism. He's talking about this baptism of the Holy Spirit, which again happens at the moment, we put our faith and trust in Jesus for salvation, the spirit comes to dwell in us, the spirit regenerates our hearts, and then unites us to Jesus, where we become part of his body. And we're united not just to him, but to the others who are parts of his body as well. Now, Jesus is the head of this body, he's the head of the church, we're the different body parts that are connected to him as the head, but we're also connected to each other, which means that we belong to him, and we belong to each other. And so this is another piece of baptism showing that we are identifying ourselves as being part of his church, that union that takes place that we see kind of happened with the CO burial and the immersion into and death and resurrection, the new life that we have in Christ. We all receive that new life through being connected in in that union with Him as the head, which is also united to each other and saying, I'm now part of this church and I belong to these people, and I'm here to do life.with them as well so this is another important reason for all of us to follow up the choice that we make to receive Jesus into our lives through faith with baptism