We’re celebrating baptism today at Rock Brook Church. We celebrate this every month, but this month we’re celebrating 1,000 baptisms since we planted. Today’s post is on the significance of baptism.
“So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” 2 Corinthians 5:16-17 NIV
We used to think Jesus was just another guy walking the earth, then we discover that He has the power to change lives. Now, any man, any woman, at any place or time with any background, if they are in Christ, are now a brand new creation and something powerful has changed in them. The old them has gone away and a brand new them is being created in Jesus Christ.
In Christ. If anyone is in Christ. The new creation comes when we get into a relationship with Jesus. It’s when our life and Christ’s life are joined together.
You don’t get the new creation by getting in the water. You get it by getting in Christ.
You get saved in Christ, not the water.
Baptism does not make you a believer. It shows that you are a believer.
Baptism doesn’t save you and get you into heaven. It shows that you are saved and getting into heaven.
The only thing that gets you into heaven is you trusting in Jesus. Baptism is the outward symbol of faith in Jesus.
Just like when a man and woman publicly declare two words, “I do.” They didn’t know all the implications of those words. When you get in the water, you are saying when I got in Christ I became a new creation. It doesn’t mean you won’t stumble, it means your desires have changed and your defense for life has changed because now Jesus is in you.
No one getting baptized says, “I used to be a mess but now I’m perfect.” No! The message is, I could never be perfect, but Jesus is perfect and I got into Jesus by putting my faith in Him and I’ve come to announce my life is joined up with the perfect one and he is going to work in me to make me like him. And my life is now changing.
So what is changing? What is the life change that we’re saying happens when we get baptized?
When We Are In Christ Our Lives Have Changed From…
- Knowing the historical Jesus to knowing a personal Jesus.
You go from saying, “I knew there was a Jesus in the pages of history, but now I know there is a real Jesus in my life.” That’s a big shift. It’s hard to find someone in our community that doesn’t know the historical Jesus.
When we get baptized we’re saying Jesus doesn’t live on the pages of history but that Jesus lives. Even more than that, He lives in the lives of people who put their faith in Him. We’re not talking about history, we’re talking about a living real person. We’re not talking about subscribing to a set of principles entering into a list of rules, we’re talking about entering into a relationship with Jesus Christ.
“When all the people heard of Jesus’ arrival, they flocked to see him and also to see Lazarus, the man Jesus had raised from the dead. Then the leading priests decided to kill Lazarus, too, for it was because of him that many of the people had deserted them and believed in Jesus.” John 12:9-11 NLT
Many people put their faith in Jesus. They came simply hearing about Him, but they left having put their faith in Him. Their life changed from knowing about someone to believing Jesus could save them.
- Death to Life.
Sin doesn’t make us bad. It makes us dead.
No one’s baptism message is that they were a really bad person and now they are going to try really hard to be a better person. That’s not the picture of baptism.
Why did God give us a picture of water baptism? Why is it important that we actually immerse people, dunk people under the water? Because Jesus got baptized under the water. He didn’t get in the river and splash around. He got in the river and was immersed in the water. That’s actually what the word baptism means, to dip under the water.
When you do laundry, you don’t sprinkle water on it, the washer fills up with water and you baptize the clothes. Every baptism in the Bible is by immersion. Even the churches that practice more convenient methods would not disagree with this. Everyone agrees to do immersion, it’s just convenient to do it other ways, but we’re going to do it the way it’s done in the Bible.
Now, why was Jesus baptized? It was a picture of what was coming. Jesus was dedicated by his parents at a young age. That was their decision and He wasn’t dishonoring their decision. Jesus decided that this is a choice I am making and it’s pointing to the ultimate choice I will be making. For us it’s a picture of what happens when we trust in Christ to be our Savior. So you put someone down and you quickly bring them back up. We bring them up quickly because we don’t live under water. When Christ died, you died. When Christ was raised, you was raised. When He went down in the depths for your sin, you went down, but when He was raised, it’s as though you were raised up too.
“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.” Romans 6:4 NIV
This isn’t a picture of good to bad. If it were, we’d have shampoo and big brushes and scrub everyone clean in the water. This is a picture of something that happened in our heart, in the core of who we are, that when we put our faith in Jesus, that though we had a sentence of death on our lives because of sin, we now have the gift of life that will never, never end. We were down but are alive in Christ now.
- Being a fan of Jesus to being a follower of Jesus.
That’s what baptism represents. You go from saying you like Jesus to saying you are following Him! Day one of the church, after the hope of Jesus was preached,
“Those who accepted his message were baptized…” Acts 2:41 NIV
People who are getting baptized aren’t just saying they are fond of Jesus, they’re saying I’m following him. They’re going from being an occasional “Jesus person” to an every day follower. Let’s look at an amazing example of this in scripture.
“Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Go south to the road—the desert road—that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian[a] eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means “queen of the Ethiopians”).
This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. The Spirit told Philip, ‘Go to that chariot and stay near it.’
Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ Philip asked.
‘How can I,’ he said, ‘unless someone explains it to me?’ So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.
This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading:
‘He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,
and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.
Who can speak of his descendants?
For his life was taken from the earth.’
The eunuch asked Philip, ‘Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?’ Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.
As they traveled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, ‘Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptized?’ And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptized him.” Acts 8:26-38 NIV
If you’ve put your trust in Christ, nothing should stand in the way. In the Bible, everyone was baptized spontaneously. No one planned it months in advance. They said, now is the time. Let’s do it. If you haven’t been baptized, do it right away!
- Me to We.
It used to be all about you, but coming forward in baptism tells people it’s all about we now. Jesus is in your life, in your relationships, in your purpose and plan. Now it’s we and you’re going to want the whole world to know that. You used to do things your way and now you do things our way. You used to do things in your own strength and now you do them by way of His strength in you. Now it’s about letting Him lead. It used to be about getting what you want, now it’s about us getting the glory that He deserves because He’s the one who brought you from death to life. You used to be an individual rolling through life and now you are walking with Him. You’re with Jesus!
“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.” Matthew 10:32-33 NIV
We don’t have to walk alone any more. In every environment, temptation, trial, dark night and bright day, everywhere you go, you are walking in the door with the One who rules the heavens and the earth and the story isn’t, “You’re with you.” The story is “You’re with Him.” You’re with Jesus and He’s with you. Your life has changed. It’s not you anymore it’s we.
“So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.” Galatians 3:26-27 NIV
Baptism is the door to the church, the family of God. It’s the way you say, “I’m all in! I’m in the family of God.”
There is one life that had to change before any of our one lives could change. Jesus had to change his life and change his status. We normally only think about our life change, our marriage that was put back together, our life being restored or our future coming into view, but remember that someone else voluntarily changed their life before we could. Before we could ever say I’m in a relationship with Jesus and I’m following Him, Jesus had to change His status and His life from:
Heavenly to Earthly
He had been forever heavenly. Before creation or time, He dwelt in heaven. Until the day when heavenly changed to earthly and a baby was born in Bethlehem. Jesus said, I’d like everybody to know that I’m not just going to dabble with this or splash around in it, I’m going to become fully immersed. Fully God, but fully human. Not only that but his life changed from:
Son of God to Son of Man
If you look through scripture Jesus is referred to as part of the trinity, as God the Son. He’d always been the Son of God but never the Son of Man until Mary gave birth. Jesus is now the Son of Man.
He didn’t go from being God to Son of Man to just back to being God. We will see the scars in his hands. He is always the God Man and the Son of Man because He chose to update His status. Then there was a day when he changed his life from:
Enthroned to Crucified
Jesus was enthroned over the universe the heavens and all things that were created that by his own word the heavens were made. Enthroned in this amazing place of power was the Son of God, but there was a day He changed that from enthroned to crucified.
Nobody could take His life, He had to lay it down. Though He was enthroned, He chose to be lifted up in a different way. Because He knew if He was lifted up, He would draw all people to Himself. So they crucified the Son of God and hoisted him up on a pole to die. At 3:00 in the afternoon his status changed again from:
Alive to Dead
The Son of God, the Son of Man for three days that change just hung in the balance. The one who healed lepers, raised the dead and welcomed sinners was dead. Aren’t you glad there was one more change? Because Jesus life changed again from:
Dead to Alive
Jesus knew He had to change your future, every nation, every tribe, the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful, the rich, the poor…He changed it all. He made everyone a brand new creation so that anyone who puts their faith in Him could become a new creation.
The old is gone and the new has come. His life and our lives changed from dead to alive. He’s alive! Now, we won’t regard one another as we used to, but we’ll see one another as brand new because we are in Christ.
Visit the Baptism page on our website for Frequently Asked Questions.
Check back on your discussion from last week. Do you have any more thoughts about the message or your conversation over fighting for your family? The family essentials were Authentic Faith, Intentional Schedules, Discovering Purpose, Right Relationships and Amazing Grace. Did you take any steps to work on the essential that needed the most work?
Hear the Word
When we are in Christ our lives have changed from…
- Knowing the historical Jesus to knowing a personal Jesus
- Death to Life
- Being a fan of Jesus to being a follower of Jesus
- Me to We
Read: Romans 6 & Acts 8
- What stood out to you in this message? What did you hear?
- Describe your baptism. When was it? What did your life look like then?
- Which of the four changes do you need the most right now?
- Which of the four changes did you need to be reminded of the most?
- Baptism is the first step in following Jesus. If you have been baptized, what do you think your next step in following Him is?
Tell Someone Else
Faith in Christ is not a private thing. Baptism is a public expression of our faith in Christ. Have you been baptized? If not, you can sign up HERE.
If you have been baptized, who can you share your faith with now?