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Jesus Christ – Body Builder IX
The Obedient Church Baptizes Disciples
Matthew 28:18-20 – And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.  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,  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”
1. The church is a community of worshipping people. The church exists to worship the triune God. When God, by His grace, comes to a lost sinner and opens their eyes so that they see Christ and enables that one to embrace Him by faith, He has made, first and foremost, a worshipper. One of the first indications that this person is a worshipper will be a heart that is now focussed on God more than itself. He is brought into obeying the first and greatest commandment – Love the Lord God with all the heart and soul and mind and strength. And one of the first things such a heart will do is what Isaiah did when he had his encounter with God in Isaiah 6. When God purges Isaiah’s tongue with a coal from off the altar the first thing Isaiah does is ask “What will you have me to do?”
2. So, God, by His grace brings a sinner to repentance and faith. And that sinner, in an earnest desire to now walk the way that His Saviour wants him to walk asks “Lord, what will you have me to do?” And what will the first answer be, as we see it outlined in the NT? Be baptized.
3. We have seen that the church is made up of disciples. Disciples are those who follow Jesus Christ. They die on a daily basis for Christ. They love Him more than anyone else, even more than family. They are those who abide in Christ and bear fruit for the Kingdom of God. They love each other. They are opposed just like Jesus was.
4. In Matthew 28 Jesus gives that little band of disciples a commission. It amounts to “make other disciples”. And the very first thing Jesus says that should be done with those disciples that are made is that they be baptized.
II The word describes the act
1. Baptizo – means immerse. “Immerse them” is what Jesus said and immerse them is what we intend to do.
III Baptism is part of the Great Commission
1. This is a powerful statement of the importance of baptism. We tend to think that since baptism does not save people that it does not matter. But Jesus commands baptism here in the same breath that He commands making disciples and teaching them. He doesn’t mention the Lord’s Supper.
a. Baptism is the entrance way into the church. This is the order we always find in the NT. People are converted, then they are baptized. Then they are added to the church.
i. Acts 2:41 – So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.
ii. Acts 8:12-13 – But when they believed Philip as he preached good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.  Even Simon himself believed, and after being baptized he continued with Philip. And seeing signs and great miracles performed, he was amazed.
iii. Acts 8:36 – And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?”
iv. Acts 16:14-15 – One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul.  And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.
v. Acts 16:31-34 – And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”  And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house.  And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family.  Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.
vi. Acts 18:8 – Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with his entire household. And many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized.
Bit of a pattern forming here don’t you think? The first thing those who truly believe in Jesus Christ do is be baptized.
b. Baptism and conversion are inseparable. They are not identical. They are inseparable. If you were to ask any of the Apostles what should we do about believers who have not yet been baptized, they wouldn’t have a clue what we were talking about. The fact that we can address a message to Christians who have not yet been baptized is an indication of a Christianity that has drifted far from the New Testament Christianity that we are called to live out.
i. They are so closely linked in the NT that some mistakenly believe that baptism saves a person. See Acts 2:39, 22:16
ii. Dear one – if you are not baptized you are seeking to maintain a Christianity that is non existent in the Bible. The New Testament does not even acknowledge that you exist.
c. Baptism has a special significance over all the other commandments to the followers of Christ.
i. Baptism is the requirement for all other church activities
(1) Not baptized? You should not be observing the Lord’s Supper. Period.
(2) Not baptized? You cannot join yourself to be a member of the church.
(3) Not baptized? Should someone not qualified to take the Lord’s Supper and not qualified to be a member of the church, and is in a state of disobedience to the first commandment to believers be leading ministry, teaching doctrine, … .
d. Baptism is the first public profession of faith
i. In Acts 2 when those three thousand believers submitted to baptism, People saw it. Their relatives may have been there. It was a public statement that “I now serve Jesus Christ”. That baptism could have cost them jobs, the loss of welcome into the homes of friends and family. It was a public declaration that demonstrated an inward working that had taken place. It would eventually lead to them being killed.
e. The church is commissioned to baptize
i. We noted last week that this command is not just given to a small group of disciples gathered on a hill outside Jerusalem. It is given to the church. We know that it is given to the church because of the promise Jesus gives in verse 20 “…”. It is the church of Jesus Christ that goes and makes disciples and baptizes and teaches all things. Individuals use their gifts in accomplishing these things but they do so under the auspices of the church.
ii. Paul the Apostle refused to baptize people out of fear that people would say they were baptized in the name of Paul. “Look at me!! I was baptized by the great Apostle!” Paul would have none of it. He preached the Gospel and saw to it that people were baptized by representatives of the churches that were established.
iii. We have such a personalized understanding of the faith and of Christianity today. People worshipping on their own, celebrating the Lord’s Supper on their own and perhaps even getting baptized on their own. It is no legitimate baptism that takes place outside the blessing of some sort of assembly of God’s people that meets together for worship, The Lord’s Supper, prayer and mutual fellowship. They may not have a building. They may not be formally organized in many ways. They may not do a lot of things that we think organized religion does. But they are a gathering of Disciples of Christ who meet for these purposes and they fit the definition of a church. Such a group is a church and only churches have the mandate from God to baptize people.
III Baptism is commanded
1. It is commanded by Jesus Himself
a. To ignore, avoid, refuse, this commandment is to:
i. Challenge the authority of the commandment giver – “I do not need to obey this …”
ii. Put oneself above His wisdom in making the commandment – “I know better than this…”
b. What reasons can there be for not obeying this commandment of Jesus?
i. It could be that you have been unaware of Jesus’ commandment to you to be baptized. You have not been aware that the Bible commands it. Jesus commands it and He commands it for all who become disciples. It is commanded to all who receive the forgiveness of sins because of faith in Jesus Christ. Your ignorance does not excuse you. You are here now and you are hearing that Jesus commands you to be baptized. You are ignorant of this no more. If oyu are a disciple of Jesus Christ then you should come and be baptized.
ii. It could be that you have thought that baptism was for people who had made significant progress in their Christian faith. You think of the battles you have had with sin and you conclude that you must get victory over them first. No dear ones. Baptism is not a testimony that you have climbed higher on the ladder of holiness and therefore are ready for it. Baptism is a testimony that you are a forgiven sinner. You are demonstrating that when you came to faith in Christ you were baptized into the death of Christ. Your life is hidden in Him. When you came to faith in Christ His death was counted as yours and His righteousness was counted as yours.
iii. It could be that you have not been baptized because you have figured that since it cannot save it does not matter. You are on your way to heaven. You are seeking to live a life for Christ. Why all this fuss about baptism? The fuss dear one is this. Jesus commands it. You dare not say that something He commands is not essential. If you are willing to say that a commandment of Jesus is non-essential then you need to examine your heart very closely.
iv. It could be you just don’t see the point. What’s the big deal. How in the world is being dunked under some water going to have any positive impact on my life as a believer? The answer to that is this: Refusing to obey a simple command will have a very serious negative effect on your life as a believer.
v. It could be that you are not baptized because when you were born, some adults took you, as an infant, to a church where some water was sprinkled on you and they called it baptism. It is not baptism as we see it taught in the NT. That is not biblical baptism. Baptism is for disciples – were you a disciple when that ceremony took place? Baptism follows confession of faith and repentance. Did you repent and look to Christ in faith before your parents took you to a church to be baptized in that manner?
vi. It could be that you know that you should not be baptized because you know you are not a disciple in the biblical sense. You have never looked in faith to Christ to forgive you. You have not had a sorrow for your sin. You are not willing to take up the cross and follow Jesus. You should not be baptized. Dear ones – how long will you live in defiance of the Almighty? You do not know if you will make it home from this service and yet you are willing to challenge the One who can take you out of this life in an instant. And He could call you to His presence today and call yo to account for all the deeds that you have ever done. And you will stand there with no one to intercede for you, no one to plead your case before the great Judge of all. And He will pronounce you guilty and you will be sent to eternal damnation. And it will all be so unnecessary, and you will remember for all eternity that you heard the words I am uttering now and chose to leave this place without Christ. I beg of you – do not leave here this morning in such a state. Will your family call me this week to tell me that you have died and will I please do the funeral? And of course I will. But I will not be able to say that by faith in Jesus Christ we have the confidence of knowing that the one we mourn today is with the Lord in glory. Yes, you are not baptized, and so you should not be – but dear one – you can come now and be made new and have this tank filled so that you can proclaim to the world that you are a new creature in Christ, buried with Him in baptism and risen to newness of life.
IV In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit
1. We are saved by a triune God
a. In Love the Father predestines and chooses and sends Jesus into the world to live and die and rise from the dead and calls us to Himself – Eph. 1:3-5
b. The Son willingly and voluntarily and lovingly came in obedience to His Father and lived a sinless life and died as a substitute for sinners and took the punishment of all the Father gave Him and rose from the dead to justify them and now sits at the Father’s right hand to intercede for them – Eph. 1:7-10, Hebrews 7:25
c. In Love the Holy Spirit comes to those given by the Father and purchased by the Son and finds them dead in trespasses and sins and He gives them new birth so that those sinners, having their eyes opened, turn to Christ in faith and repentance and He comes and dwells in them as a guarantee that they will indeed inherit eternal life. Eph. 1:13-14, John 3:3-8, Eph. 2:1-4.
When you are baptized in the name of that God who did that unbelievably great thing for you, you are giving a grand testimony to the world and to your own soul of what a marvelous thing God has done for you
2. In the authority of … There is nothing magical about uttering the names of God. “Father, Son, Holy Spirit, is not some incantation we utter for protection or for blessing.” No. “In the name of means (at least) “by authority of” “in the power of”.
a. When we baptize in this church we ask the question: Have you repented of your sins and are you trusting Jesus Christ to save you from your sins? When the person says “yes” then the response of the one baptizing is “Then based upon your profession of faith, I baptize you in the name …” That means that the authority for the baptism is not ours, it is God’s. It is God who has said that whoever calls upon the name of the lord shall be saved. This is not some religious ritual we have made up so that people can say they did something. No. This is God at work here.
This act of obedience will be blessed by God to you. As The Lord’s Supper has special blessing from Christ to those who come in faith to the table, I believe that Jesus brings a special blessing to those who in obedience come to the waters of baptism in faith. Do not deny this to yourself. You cannot out give God.
3. Arise and Be Baptized
a. The forms on the back table
b. Classes are starting on February 28, taught by Pedro.
c. Not sure you know Christ?
i. Come and talk
ii. Take the classes and pray that God will use them to help oyu know for sure and if it turns out that you are not a believer then the classes have done their work and you can finally come to Christ and be baptized.