BAPTISM: Buried and Raised with Christ
"having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead." ~Col. 2:12 NASB
Baptism is a cherished moment in every Christian's life and in the life of the church. When we see people going down into the waters of baptism we say to ourselves, "God is working!" To help us truly cherish the moment of baptism we need to understand what God's word says about baptism.
Baptism is Significant
There are multiple places in the New Testament that speak to the significance of baptism, but for the sake of space, only three will be summarized here.
1. Jesus committed himself to baptism (Matt 3:13-17).
When Jesus was baptized he demonstrated his obedience to the Father and he identified with sinners.
2. Jesus commanded baptism (Matt 28:17-20).
This really is the number one support for the signifance of baptism. Jesus commanded his disciples to go out into the world and baptize those who repent of their sins by trusting Jesus as Lord.
3. The early church continued the practice of baptism (Acts 2:38, 41; Acts 9:18; Acts 16:14-15; Rom 6:3-4; Gal 3:27; Eph. 4:5; 1 Pet 3:31).
Baptism is Symbolic
Like a wedding band that symbolizes the union of a husband to a wife, baptism symbolizes your union to Christ, your cleansing from sin, and your response of repentance and faith.
Baptism symbolizes your union to Christ in His death and resurrection (Col 2:12, Rom 6:1-7). Baptism serves as dramatic portrayal of your "old self"--that was dominated by rebellion and vice--has been crucified so that you are no longer a slave to sin. Your baptism further pictures being raised with Christ so that you might "walk in newness of life" (Rom 6:4).
Baptism symbolizes your cleansing from sin. "What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus!" Singing this hymn reminds us of Ephesians 1:7 where Paul writes, "In Him, we have redemtpion through His blood, the forginess of our tresspasses." Baptism is a powerful symbol of this spiritual reality (Acts 22:16).
Baptism also symbolizes your response of repentance and faith in Jesus. How did the early believers respond after God opened their hearts to trust Jesus as Lord? They were baptized (Acts 2:41, Acts 16:14-15, Acts 16:31).
Baptism is for specific persons
Who should be baptized? Babies? Teenagers? Adults? The answer may surprise you. Only those individuals who are trusting in what God has done through Jesus Christ should be baptized: "having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God..." (Col. 2:12). The union we have with Christ is through faith in the working of God!" What has God done? Paul tells the Colossians that God has made them new, united them with Christ, given them new life, cancelled their record of sin, and defeated Satan and his evil allies (Col 2:11-15).
ARE YOU TRUSTING WHAT GOD HAS DONE FOR YOU?
Out of love for you, God sent Jesus into the world to live the life you could never live and die the death that you deserve. You have repeatedly violated the commands of God and your record of sin condemns you; but Jesus died on the cross to cancel your record of sin. Through Him, you can be forgiven of every violation, no matter how great it is, and you can be accepted by God. If you will humble yourself today and cry out to Jesus for salvation you will experience all the blessings of salvation (Rom 10:13). But beware, if you refuse to humble yourself and cry out to Jesus the wrath of God remains on you (John 3:36).
If you are trusting in what God has done for you through Jesus Christ, then you should respond by being baptized.
How can you use this sermon review this week?
1. If you have young children who are asking questions about baptism, use this as a guide to help you provide answers.
2. Reflect on the symbolism of baptism and express gratitude to God for all that He has done for you.
3. Be a witness for Jesus. Study Colossians 2:11-15 and then choose one person to share this good news with.