Posted by: Jim Black | September 29, 2008

Concluding “Of Water & the Spirit”

I hope that our month-long congregational study on New Testament baptism has been as much a blessing to you as it has to me.  If you learned just one tenth as much as I did, then it was a tremendous success!  As I said, and I hope you found it to be true, no matter how much we thought we knew about the subject, there is always more to glean from the Scriptures. Churches of Christ have long emphasized the importance and necessity of baptism, but I think it may be even more important than we have ever thought.  I hope you have been convinced as well.

 

I appreciate Brad filling in for me last weekend and for the excellent lesson he brought.  If there is one thing that we sometimes neglect about baptism, it is how it was meant to draw all Christians together in unity.  As we unite with Christ in baptism, he adds us to his church and that is something we all share in common.  How sad that this unifying act of baptism has been used through the centuries to divide.  It just goes to show you how people can really mess up a good thing.

 

We will be wrapping up the study this Sunday from the pulpit with one final lesson, “the promise of baptism” where we will be looking at another often overlooked aspect of baptism and that is the promise of the Holy Spirit (cf. Acts 2:38).  What is the Spirit’s role in baptism?  To get ready for the lesson I suggest you go back to Acts 2 and re-read Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost and then look at the crowd’s reaction.  Make special note of what Peter told them to do in response to hearing the good news.  Then go back and re-read Luke 3:21-22 and ask yourself, “Why was Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God, the sinless Son of God, baptized?  Did he ‘have to’?”

  On Sunday evening, we will be having a panel discussion to conclude the series, “Down in the River.”  No, we won’t be going to the river, but I do hope and pray that we may need to put our baptistry to good use!  A panel of Sunday school teachers, Elders and maybe a deacon or two will be addressing any “loose end” questions which may have come up in our discussion.  I’ll be serving as moderator.  It will not be a debate, but rather an open discussion on the meaning and importance for us today.  Come prepared with any questions you may still have!  You can drop me a line anytime this week with questions that you would like to see us address.

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Responses

  1. I have really enjoyed the study that we have done on baptism. God has used it to help clarify to me what this act of faith is all about.

    The most important thing this study reminded me of was that baptism is not a rite of passage, it is not a hoop to be jumped through. Baptism is an act of submission to God. The point where I humble myself before God and submit to the death of my life and what I think is best for me and give God control. I am submitting my life to God to be transformed by the Holy Spirit and laid out before Him as a living sacrifice, to do God’s will not mine. That is why my life will look different after baptism- it is no longer my life I am living, it is God’s.

    The key is submission, letting go of the control we think we have of our life. Baptism is the sign of our submission, the seal of our covenant relationship with God.

    I think many would agree that one must submit to God to be saved. So many times the argument comes when the discussion turns to how we submit. How do we show God that we have submitted? I believe the way God has asked us to do it is to be baptized.


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