Easter | Resurrection = Hope

The greatest things we can have and give to someone else in these days is hope. The resurrection of Jesus turned the first followers of Christ from fearful people of despair into courageous people of hope. They began to spread the message of hope everywhere because when they saw Jesus had come back to life, it changed everything.

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the HOPE to which he has called you…” Ephesians 1:18 NIV

You’ve got eyes on your face. You also have eyes in your heart. We all see the same things, but we see them differently. We filter the world through the things we’ve experienced, the worries we have, the good things that have happened to us, the bad things, the wounds we carry and the disappointments in our life. We pray that God’s light would flood your heart and life, in order that you may know His hope. That hope is found in the resurrection.

When Jesus Christ was crucified in 33 AD, there were only about 120 followers that were true to His message at that time. Today, 2,000 years later, 2.3 billion people in the world, claim to be a follower of Christ. How in the world did that happen? How did this little band of poor people 2,000 years ago expand into billions? In a word, the resurrection. It’s the most significant event in all of history.

Now, understand the difference between resurrection and resuscitation. They are not the same. People get resuscitated all the time. If you faint, we’ll resuscitate you. If you go into a coma, you can be resuscitated. There are people whose heart stop beating for a certain number of beats, you may be resuscitated.

Jesus’ resurrection means He was crucified by far the most brutal, torturous form of capital punishment ever invented. They beat Him, shoved a crown of thorns into His skull. They scourged Him. They made Him carry a heavy cross up the mountain. They lie Him down and nailed His hands to the cross. They didn’t want Him to suffocate on the cross, that would be too easy, so they bent His legs nail His feet so he’d have to push himself up to breathe. Death on the cross took a long time. They took a spear and they stuck it in His side to make sure He was dead. He was buried in a tomb for three days and then He came back to life. Only Jesus Christ has done that. That’s not resuscitation. That’s resurrection.

That single event changed all of history. What it did is it turned the first followers of Christ into the most hopeful, resilient amazing people the world has ever seen. Followers of Jesus are still the most hopeful people on the planet today. We have far more hope than anybody else in the world because of what Jesus Christ did at the resurrection. Anyone can have this hope. Let’s look at some legitimate reasons God gives us to have hope.

1. The first reason Jesus’ resurrection gives us hope is we have been completely forgiven.

Jesus repeatedly said over and over, “I’m going to be handed over to be killed and on the third day, rise again.” If He didn’t come back to life, then we have every reason to doubt that His death means anything for us. But He did, and now the cross means something powerful for us.

“He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.” Ephesians 1:7 NLT

His death frees you from weight, shame, condemnation, ultimately you having to die for sin. But Jesus said, “I came to die for your sins, so you don’t have to die for them.” The cross was brutal. Why would Jesus go through that? Who killed Jesus? Who is to blame for Jesus being on the cross? It wasn’t Judas, the betrayer. It wasn’t Caiaphas, the high priest. It wasn’t Pilate, the Roman governor. It wasn’t even the crowd who turned on Him and said “Crucify Him! Give us Barabbas. A man who was guilty.” It wasn’t the Roman soldiers.   

The first answer is this, God did. It was His plan when He sent Jesus to earth.

“6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all. 9 He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave. 10 But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants.” Isaiah 53:6,9-10 NLT

It was God’s plan. Yet, now notice the change in tense. “When his life is made an offering for sin, he will have a multitude of descendants.” In other words, there will be people who will follow Him. The first part is in past tense and then it goes to future. This passage was written 700 years before Jesus Christ. This is a prophecy and Isaiah, in 700 BC, is telling and predicting exactly what’s going to happen to the Messiah, the Savior, the son of God who comes to Earth, and this happened exactly how it happened. It’s the whole reason He sent Jesus to earth. If Jesus hadn’t wanted to give His life for us, it wouldn’t have happened.  Jesus said I came to earth to die. It was for that purpose.

The second answer to who put Jesus on the cross is this: we did. If we could save ourselves, do enough good things, follow God’s law, break our sin nature, Jesus wouldn’t have had to die on the cross for our sins. He was doing it so we could be saved. Even on the cross in all of that pain He wasn’t thinking of Himself, He was thinking of us. He cries out, “Father! Forgive them…”

“He was handed over to die because of our sins, [It was our penalty he was paying] and he was raised to life to make us right with God.” Romans 4:25 NLT

Completely forgiven. There’s someone reading this who, you’ve never truly known you’re forgiven, or you’ve never truly felt forgiven. You feel like if anyone knew the real you, you would be hopeless. God knows the real you. He sees it all. It’s not about you anymore. It’s about the name and the work of Jesus Christ. It’s about a cross that once and for all settled the judgment that hung over your life and now there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. Be free.

2. The second reason Jesus’ resurrection gives us hope, we’re no longer afraid to die.

Jesus broke the power of death. Yes, without Christ, we are left for dead and we should be afraid. But Christ has conquered the grave. The individual sins that you’ve committed, that’s not even the whole issue.   Before you know Jesus Christ and are covered by His blood, any good thing you do, God could not care less about, because we’re spiritually dead. God wants you to know and trust in Jesus so the power of the resurrection can have an impact on your life. Jesus broke the power of the fear of death. The fear of death is a universal fear. Everybody has it, all over the world.

But what did Jesus do? He came back to life. If Jesus Christ had not resurrected from the dead, you would not even know that there’s life after death. You might be able to look at some evidence from creation, like the pattern and cycle of nature…actually, nature, science, anthropology, psychology, ethics, philosophy, all give us evidence of an afterlife, but you wouldn’t know. You’d have nothing to prove it. So, Jesus Christ proved it. He came back said, I’ve conquered death. There is greater life after death, and that’s good news.

Jesus: “I am the resurrection and the life. Anyone who believes in me will live, even after dying.” John 11:25 NLT

There’s hope. One of the things that’s difficult to explain without the resurrection is the sudden change in the disciples because at the crucifixion and after, they’re all scared to death. They’re running, they’re defeated, they’re depressed in despair. Three days later they’re ready to take on the Roman Empire. What happened? They had seen Jesus. They were eye witnesses. Paul lists just a few of the eyewitnesses.

“Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. 4 He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said. 5 He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve. 6 After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died. 7 Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. 8 Last of all… I also saw him.” 1 Corinthians 15:3-8 NLT

For 40 days He has multiple meetings with a lot of different people, friends. This is what’s called definitive evidence. Conclusive proof. Having hundreds of eyewitnesses would stand up in any court, anywhere in the world. This is why the church exploded. Within years, there were 30,000 members of the church just in Jerusalem, then it had grown to nearly a half a million, and it exploded all over the Roman empire. Why? Because of the resurrection, there were so many eye witnesses.

So, the Roman Empire started what was called the great persecution. For the first 300 years of Christianity, it was illegal to be a Christian. If you made the decision to say, I’m going to become a follower of Christ, you are more likely to be fed to the Lions in the Coliseum, crucified yourself or beheaded. Why did people become followers? Because of the hope. Do you know all but one of the original disciples were murdered; John was the exception. Stephen was stoned to death. James was beheaded. Peter was crucified upside down. Paul was in prison in Rome, and then he was executed. Read the last words of Paul right before he goes to the execution, “I fought the good fight. I finished the race. I’ve kept the faith.”

Christians were fearless in the face of death. Why? Because they knew there was more to life than just here and now. You know what baffled the Roman empire was how unafraid Christians were to die. Paul says it like this.

“For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better.” Philippians 1:21 NLT

He says, “Either way I win. If I’m alive, I’m just going to live my purpose, the purpose that God created me for. If I die, I just get to go to heaven sooner. I can’t lose.” What do you do with a guy like that? There’s someone reading right now who is terrified of dying. And it’s greatly affecting the life God is giving you now. You don’t have to be afraid. Anyone who believes in Christ, will live even after dying. Do not be afraid.

3. The third reason Jesus’ resurrection gives us hope is we have an eternal home waiting for us.

We know as followers of Jesus; death is not the end. It’s just a transition to better things. The last of Jesus 12 disciples to die was a guy named John. He was the only one not murdered because the killings wouldn’t take. So, they exiled John to a prison colony on an island in the middle of the Mediterranean. There he wrote the last book of the Bible, which is called the Revelation. It is a vision God gave him of what the end times and heaven are like. What is heaven going to be like? Well, in a word, it’s indescribable.

It’s going to be beautiful. It’s going to be amazing. Why? Because look at the earth. This is a broken planet. This is a fallen planet. Nothing works perfectly on this planet, and yet there’s still a lot of beauty. Sun rises, sun sets, mountains, farm land, forests, and this is an imperfect planet. Imagine what a perfect place is going to be like with all the sights, sounds, tastes and the colors where it’s absolutely perfect.

“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 NLT

The more we see the earth with all of its abuse, affairs, assaults, rapes, violence, racism, prejudice, war, terrorism, and pandemics; the more we need trust Jesus and look forward to Heaven. And the more we should be ready for it.

“Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. 16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world. 17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.” 1 John 2:15-17 NLT

To make it through this life, you need hope. Not just a wishful thinking, but a hope you can be certain of. You can’t be good enough to get this hope of an eternity in heaven. You need a savior. That’s what Jesus came to be. If Jesus didn’t need to die on the cross for you, then it was a total waste of his blood. There’s only one way. Before Jesus went back to heaven, He said to his followers,

Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. 2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.”

5 “No, we don’t know, Lord,” Thomas said. “We have no idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?” 6 Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.” John 14:1-6 NLT

You need Jesus Christ. The way, the truth, the life. You need an eternal home, an eternal reward that’s driving your purpose and mission. How you’re living your life? Disconnected from God? Going through the motions without meaning and hope? God knew that on Easter Sunday, 2020 you’d be reading to this. Whatever circumstance you find yourself in right now, God loves you and has been preparing you for this moment.

“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. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17 NIV

God knew you couldn’t save yourself. And He loves you. He did it for you. Believe.


Check Back

Check back on your discussions from the last series, “Getting To Know God.” God is omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, immutable and sovereign. What do you think you will remember most from that series?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcastGoogle Play Music or Download the Rock Brook Church App

Big Idea

The resurrection of Jesus turned the first followers of Christ from fearful people of despair into courageous people of hope. They began to spread the message of hope everywhere because when they saw Jesus had come back to life, it changed everything. This Easter we’ll ask why the resurrection still makes followers of Jesus the most hopeful people on the planet today.

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the HOPE to which he has called you…Ephesians 1:18 (NIV)

Discussion & Application

  • Read Romans chapter 4. The first reason Jesus’ resurrection gives us hope is we have been completely forgiven. What stands out to you about this? How does it impact you? Do you believe you have been completely forgiven?
  • Philippians 1:21: “For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better.” The second reason Jesus’ resurrection gives us hope is we’re no longer afraid to die. How has your fear of death changed as you know God better?
  • Jesus promised: “I am going to prepare a place for you…” The third reason Jesus’ resurrection gives us hope is that we have an eternal home waiting for us. How does knowing your eternal home and reward is waiting for you in Christ change how you live now?
  • What are some other reasons the resurrection gives us hope? His power… His love… His purpose in our lives… Can you think of some more?

Prayer Focus

Ask the group for how you can pray for and support one another this week. Who in your life needs the hope of the resurrection? Pray for them.

Next Steps

Write out a thank-you note to God. Thank Him for loving you first, forgiving you, for sticking to His promises in the past. Thank Him for the promises that give you hope for tomorrow and an eternal home in heaven.

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Building Your Life On Values That Last | Celebration Weekend

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We put Celebration Weekend on our calendar every year around Thanksgiving to give thanks to God, turn the corner into the the holidays, give to Him and celebrate what God has done in our lives this fall.

With Celebration Weekend, we open up a giving opportunity called the Celebration Offering. Our first priority for you is to give out of your relationship with God and give through the church, that’s called the tithe. If you choose to give beyond your tithe, that is called an offering. The Celebration Offering we bring at the end of the year, to celebrate what God has done in our lives.

The Bible says the way you give to God is through the church because the church is the body of Christ. Here’s how we plan on using the money given during this year’s Celebration Offering.

In previous years, we’ve used part of the offering to give an extra month of support to the missionaries and amazing organizations we support as a church. Through your giving this year we’ve been already able to cover that.

This year, we want to give half of what comes in to church planters. The other half we’ll use for some improvements around here.

In the past, we’ve been able to renovate a room or space or add technology to help us get the gospel out to more people through the Celebration Offering.

If you want to give to that, you can designate your gift, Celebration Offering. You can give online at RockBrook.org/Giving to give online.


“Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples…”  Mark 8:34a NIV

Jesus understood all of the people who were following Him. There were people in different stages of their spiritual journey, they weren’t all disciples. He had a crowd of people who were kicking the tires and trying to figure out if Jesus was real. He was talking to both of them at the same time.

“and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” Mark 8:34b NIV

In other words, “Let’s go!” Come from where you are to the full potential God has for your life. By the way, all of us need to do that. We’re still growing and learning and becoming more like him.

“For whoever wants to save their life will lose it,”  Mark 8:35a NIV

It says here you have to give an exchange for the things you’re currently doing that aren’t what God wants.

“but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?”  Mark 8:35-36 NIV

What good is it to have a great marriage, great job, the house, cars or vacations if you don’t deal with your soul issues? The real you and the part of you that’s going to live forever?


One of the things we’re passionate about is making a growth process clear to everyone. Basically, there are four different groups of people that attend our church on any given weekend.

  • Crowd: Come and see

Someone gave them an invitation in some way. The message we say is come and see. Take your time. We’re not expecting anything from you. You don’t need to give or serve or worship the way the rest of the room worships. 

We want a church that’s not full of church people.

  • Congregation: Come and join us

These are the members of the church. First, join Jesus then you join a church.

Christianity is being part of the family of God.

We belong to each other as the body of Christ. This is a local expression of that family. There are so many verses, chapters and whole books of the New Testament that you can’t fulfill if you’re not connected to a local church. So, come and join us.

  • Committed: Come and grow

Christianity doesn’t end a process, it begins a process. We’re becoming more like Jesus. Believing happens in a moment, you get saved in a moment of belief. But there’s a long process where we’re becoming more like Jesus. That’s why this entire Fall Spiritual Growth Campaign was built on Small Groups.

Life change happens in the context of relationships.

  • Core: Come and serve

Don’t just attend church, participate in your church. 

Worship one, serve one. Come be a part of the Dream Team that has over 400 volunteers of people on it serving together. You might say, “With that many people you probably have everything covered.” We’re doing okay, but it’d be a lot better with you on the team. We want to make a big impact this Christmas season and in 2020! There’s a place for you! You’re not only welcome, you’re wanted!

If you’re wonder where to start, we’ve designed a process that ushers you through this journey called Growth Track. Four steps, four Sundays. We cycle through it every month.

The first step is next Sunday, December 1st, the membership class. StepONE just explains our vision and what being a member here looks like. This would be a great time to jump in.


Baptism

We have many people on our Dream Team that have a unique story about their journey to Christ, to Rock Brook and to serving and making a difference. Many people you see serving around our church would tell you they got serious about their faith when they took a step of obedience and got baptized. Let’s look at what baptism means and the power of obedience.

“Those who accepted his message were baptized and about three thousand were added to their number that day.”  Acts 2:41 NIV

Notice that baptism is a post-decision to believe, not pre-decision. So we don’t baptize infants here. Some churches do, but honestly it’s more of a dedication service. We dedicate babies and young children, but we baptize believers.

There are 27 accounts of baptism in the New Testament all of them were after the decision to believe.

Baptism is a vibrant part of the church. Baptism doesn’t save you, but it’s where your faith goes public. Just in the last 10 weeks of our Fall Spiritual Growth Campaign, 44 people indicated on their communication card that they either began trusting or renewed their trust in Jesus Christ.

Those people can now take their next step and be baptized. They can follow God right away. We make baptisms available every month. If you would like to be baptized at Rock Brook, sign-up HERE.

When you get baptized, what does that express?

1. You are a follower of Jesus Christ

When we get baptized we’re saying Jesus doesn’t live only on the pages of history but Jesus lives today! 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.

Look at this passage after Jesus raises his friend Lazarus from the dead,

“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

You’d think everyone would have believed in Jesus. That everyone who came to see Jesus would have believed in him. But there are still some on the edges who weren’t 100% sure.

Many people did put their faith in Jesus. They came 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.

2. You are beginning a new life in Christ

No one getting baptized, is doing it because they were a bad person and want to try to be a better person. That’s not the picture of baptism.

Why did God give us a picture of water baptism?

It’s 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 stand around and splash around. He got in the river and was immersed in the water.

That’s actually what the word baptism means. It means to dip under the water.

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. He wasn’t dishonoring their decision. Now He’s saying 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 we put someone under the water and quickly bring them back up. When Christ died we died. When Christ was raised, we can be raised too. When He went down in the depths for my sin, I went down, but when He was raised it’s as though I was 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

Though we had a sentence of death on our lives because of sin, we now have life and life to the full because of the work of Jesus.

“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

When you get in the water, you are saying that when you got in Christ you became a new creation. It doesn’t mean we won’t stumble. It means our desires have changed and our defense for life changed because now Jesus is in us.

No one getting baptized says they used to be a mess but now are perfect. No, the message is we could never be perfect, but Jesus is perfect and we got into Jesus by putting my faith in Him. Our lives are joined up with the perfect one and He is going to work in us to make us like him. Our lives are now changing!

What is changing? What is the life change that we’re saying happens when we get baptized?

3. You are part of a new family

It used to be all about me, but I’m coming forward in my baptism to say it’s all about us now. I used to be an individual rolling through life and now I am walking with him and his body, the church.

“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

It’s not just me that this happened to, it happened to a “we” and now I’m part of that “we.” I’m a sister or a brother in that “we” and there’s no changing that.

Baptism is the door to the church. It’s the doorway to being a part of the family of God. People say faith is a private thing and a private decision, not according to Jesus…

“Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.” Matthew 10:32-33 NIV


Frequently Asked Questions About Baptism

  • I have already been baptized. Should I be baptized again?

Your baptism should have signified you becoming a follower of Jesus, beginning a new life, and uniting with a new family. If your baptism did not reflect this change of life, then you should be baptized again.

  • May my child be baptized?

We encourage parents to partner with Rock Brook for Kids and take their child through our Kids Baptism Class. This class is offered for third through sixth grade. You can find out more information at http://www.rbfk.net/kids-baptism-class

  • May my infant be baptized?

Throughout the New Testament, the Bible teaches that baptism is a public expression of worship symbolizing the new life we have when we follow Jesus. In the Bible we see that Jesus’ parents dedicated him to the Lord (Luke 2:22–40), and he was later baptized as an adult (Matthew 3:16–17).

We understand that some churches practice “baptism of confirmation” for children. This ceremony is intended to be a commitment between the parents and God on the behalf of the child. The parents promise to raise their child in the faith until the child is old enough to make his or her own personal confession of Christ. This custom is different from the biblical examples of new believers being baptized to publicly profess their faith in Jesus. At Rock Brook we provide opportunities for child dedication. Let us know on the communication card if you would like to dedicate your child.


Check Back

Check back on your discussion about love, or your discussions from the spiritual growth campaign. Any loose ends you need to tie up? What was your favorite week of the campaign?

 

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcastGoogle Play Music or Download the Rock Brook Church App

Hear the Word

Pausing to celebrate and look back at how far we’ve come is biblical. God commands it. He doesn’t want us to just fly through life without recognizing what He has done for us.

This weekend we paused to reflect on where we’ve been and look at what our next step of spiritual growth may be. We were reminded of what happens, specifically when we take the step of baptism. It shows we are a follower of Jesus, we are beginning a new life in Christ, and you are part of a new family.

“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

Application

  1. What stood out to you in this message? What did you hear?
  2. Describe your baptism. When was it? What did your life look like then?
  3. What did you need to be reminded of most in this message? What do you need to pause and celebrate in your life?
  4. 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?

Christmas is a great time to share your faith with your friends. Who could you bring with you to a service in December? Who could you invite to one of our Christmas services December 21-22 or Christmas Eve at 1:30, 3:00 or 4:30?

 

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I Am One Life Changed (Celebrating 1,000 Baptisms)

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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

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?

Listen to the sermon: online, iTunes podcast or Google Play Music

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

Application

  1. What stood out to you in this message? What did you hear?
  2. Describe your baptism. When was it? What did your life look like then?
  3. Which of the four changes do you need the most right now?
  4. Which of the four changes did you need to be reminded of the most?
  5. 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?

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