One that’s good enough, just the number one, and so if you remember, we’ve taken the first part of the year to go through Ephesians four, there is one body one. Anybody know Spirit one? Hope one. Lord one Faith.
And now what? One baptism. Well, does that seem as important as all the others, we’re going to go to one God next month, but, you know, I thought, well, what do we do when we get to one baptism? Well, I guess we’ll just preach about baptism. So that’s what we’re going to do today. All right. We’re going to preach about what the Bible says about baptism. And, you know, a lot of churches sort of it’s getting harder and harder to really pin down what do people really believe? Because sometimes it’s like, yes, we we believe in baptism. We do baptize people. That’s part of membership. A lot of their websites. You go on and look at their statement of faith or statement of beliefs. And I will tell you that even that is getting a little harder and harder to discern. Like what? OK, I read your statement of faith. I still don’t know what you believe. It’s it’s very ethereal and very it’s kind of like just contact us and we’ll let you know what we really believe.
I would rather just know what you believe, what you teach on these areas. And so that’s what today’s lesson is, is this is what we believe. This is what we teach from our church about what baptism is. I hope I do a good job of representing that. All right. So let’s continue on here. I don’t have my clicker. I feel a little bit a little naked, but born again of water and spirit, you can be opening your Bibles.
I brought mine today. I would recommend you bring one to church so that you know that what we are saying is at least from the scriptures. And we’re going to start in John, Chapter three. Verse one. And this is early on in the Ministry of Jesus. And people are trying to figure out who he is. And it says there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish Ruling Council, who came to Jesus at night and said, Rabbi, we know you’re a teacher who’s come from God, for no one can perform the miraculous signs you’re doing.
If God were not with him. And in reply, I don’t even know that there was a question. I didn’t see a question that Nicodemus asked. You know, I just see sort of hey we you know, we’re trying to figure who you are. We’re trying to figure you out. So Jesus just said, I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he’s born again. Well, how can a man be born when he’s old?
Nicodemus asked. Surely he can’t enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born. Jesus answered, I tell you the truth, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless he’s born of the water and the spirit. Flesh gives birth the flesh, but the spirit gives birth to spirit. You shouldn’t be surprised at my saying you must be born again. Next slide, please. So we’re talking about New Birth and of course, you know Nicodemus upon hearing (?) Birth, right.
And and this is not unlike Jesus to take something from the material world. Right. Like a farmer goes out to sow seed and he scatters it. Right. And there’s a lesson about that. OK, that’s very familiar to them. Right. He said the kingdom of God is like a big haul of fish, which the man separated. The Kingdom of God is like a pearl. And so there’s so many analogies that Jesus pulls out of the physical world to help us understand a spiritual principle.
This is another one of those. So let’s talk about physical birth for a second and then just talk about what Jesus may have been referring to when he’s talking about being born again into the kingdom of God, of the water and the spirit. So let’s read some of the miracle of New Birth. Right. And we know this psalm and this psalm really paints a picture for us as Christians. It has to be our statement of belief even about the unborn .
Psalm One thirty nine says, I praise you because I’m fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful. I know that full well. You know, it’s important to feel good about yourself, right? You know, there was a time when the monks would just sort of walk around and just lash their back and they hit their heads with a stone because they felt like we are corrupt sinners. Well, I don’t I believe that about myself. However, on the flip side, you see the Psalmist saying God has created you.
You are fearfully and wonderfully made. God doesn’t make mistakes. He did not make a mistake with you. You are wonderful. Because God created you, my frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written before one came to be. And so we see that God has a great plan for you even before you were born.
Now let’s talk about the process of physical birth. How does it start? Well, we’re not going to go into the biology lesson of this, but it starts with conception. That’s sort of the most exciting part, right? It’s the kickoff of of a new life. It is conception. If I know that we’re we have no kids kingdom today. So that’s as much as I’m going to say about that. You can ask your parents at home if you need to know what is that long word conception that Marshall talked about and what has happened there?
Well, a new life has begun. Then what happens? You’re born. Oh, I hope not. Because you’re not ready yet, even though you are alive, even though God is weaving you together, you’re actually not ready. You can’t breathe oxygen, you can’t eat food yet. You are very dependent on what is called the gestation process. And so there is a life that’s growing and gestating and developing and and your lungs and your eyes and your brain and all of that is beginning to be woven together in your mother’s womb by the Lord, our God.
And then at some point you are ready, at some point it’s like I’m very ready, at some point it’s like let’s let’s meet this kid as soon as possible and then what happens? Birth. And that, you know, there’s a moment of transition that happens at birth. You go from the darkness to the light and the baby’s eyes are probably open. Looking around, he’s warm. He’s in sort of a ninety nine degree placenta there. And then suddenly he’s in a 60 degree hospital.
I don’t know why they have to keep him so cold, but he flies into the world with about a 30 degree temperature difference and he freezes up. It’s like it’s cold in here. I’m not ready yet for life. And suddenly, you know, if you’ve seen that, you know, they suck the little fluid out of the lungs and the kids coughing and, you know, burping and sneezing and crying and all that is very traumatic. It’s it’s scary.
I mean, men have stronger men than me have passed out, you know, and, you know, praise God for all the moms. Let’s just it’s not Mother’s Day. Last week was Father’s Day. We don’t do a whole lot. We’re excited about the conception part. But, you know, let’s let’s give it up for the women who go through the gestation and the birth. I’m spending too much time on this. It’s stuff you already know.
Let’s get to the Bible. And here’s the thing of all of you who are here today. How many of you went through this process to enter the world? Most of you, all right. Is it all necessary, I mean, is it kind of all of the process necessary? Can you can you reorder things a little bit, can you shuffle as long as you check all three boxes? Is that good enough? Can you just be born, then gestate and then be conceived?
No, it it follows a process. And who’s in control of this process? Well, it’s God, it’s still a miracle. I don’t care who you are. If you’ve been in that operating room or living room, wherever you had your child, you realize, whoa, that was miraculous. And so just because God has ordained nature to work in a certain way does not remove the miracle of God himself, amen? Let’s keep moving.
How do we how are we born again spiritually, then how is this going to work? Right, because we see in physical birth, God still works through the laws of nature because all of us went through this process, though each of us was a miracle. And that process may have been very different and unique. Our process with Katie was unique. I spent the first two days of our conception in a test tube in a lab in Beirut, Lebanon.
We went through in vitro fertilization to have Katie. For us, it was still a miracle. And then she attached onto Sean’s womb, which is the critical part of in vitro fertilization and gestated and was born. And she’s fairly normal, even though the process was a little unique and different and still miraculous. So God is always working in harmony with nature now. God can do whatever he wants, right? Christ even went through this process, even though his conception was a little different.
It was conceived of the Holy Spirit. Jesus still gestated, was born, and we get to celebrate that this year. I can’t wait for Christmas amen. So how about spiritual new birth now? God is still in us. Again no exceptions lived like that at one time, gratifying our sinful nature following its desires. Like the rest, we were objects of wrath. But because of his great love for us, God who is rich in mercy made us alive and Christ even when we were dead in our transgressions.
It is by being saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated him, seated us with him in the heavenly realms, in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show us his incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus, for it is by faith or it is by grace you have been saved through faith and just in case you wanted to take credit for your faith, he says and that’s not from yourself. That also is the gift of God, not by works, so that no one can boast for where God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do so in the very same way that your days before even one came to be and you together in your mother’s womb. So God also planned to save you. God’s grace intervened in your life when you were dead in your transgressions, and God had this great plan and dream for you even before you were born again. And the faith that you have is is the key. And so where does faith start? Where is the conception of faith? How does somebody go from a place of deadness no faith to a little bit of faith? Some. Where does that start? Many of you guys know the I think I’ve shared the story of my brother Monty was going to work one day and he would go to this little gym. It wasn’t like a, you know, an L.A. fitness type thing.
It was sort of like a basement of an apartment that had a few things. But if you know my brother Monty, that’s how he likes it. He just likes a few people and a few machines. And so he was down there. There was only one other guy there and he’s working out. And at some point he notices the guy is just laying on the ground. Now, usually everybody kind of works out in their own way. So I don’t know if this guy was in a corpse pose of yoga or or what.
But after about a minute, my brother Monty said, well, not being corpse pose, he may actually be a corpse. And it turns out he was the guy died when they were working out. And so he called nine one one, and for about eight minutes, Monty started resuscitating him through CPR. They arrived and the guy’s alive. Crazy isnt it? Kind of resuscitated somebody, whereas our EMTs or our teachers or Mike has, Jim has. Paul, I believe.
Wow d a whole gosh that’s amazing. So there’s people that are alive intervened. And at the point where he was dead lying on the floor, what control did he have over his future? None. Unless there was an outside agent that intervened, this guy would put their words on a page that the Holy Spirit inspired men to write over hundreds of years and have been preserved accurately, that we can read them. And I don’t know how it works. But when you hear the message of Christ, somehow a life is born, faith is conceived.
But now when you hear and accept and believe the message, are you then saved? Are you forgiven of your sins? Are you indeed alive? Have you been set free, washed of your sins? Have you gone from spiritual darkness to spiritual light, or is there more? Born again. Something about repentance, change, developing, gestating, forming convictions, something about repentance belongs in this process of being born again. Repentance is key because it’s kind of like when a when a baby is born premature.
You know, there are some complications with that. There’s the lungs. There’s sometimes the last to develop and breathing is labored. And there’s some touch-And-Go times. Probably many of you had a premature child born. Right. And so, you know, it’s a little scary, isn’t it? Because, well, in the same way, we have to repent. There’s a time when you’re ready and then amen, right, yesterday morning, Lahna, the daughter of tristin Hyers was baptized into Christ and it was really exciting. Susan Mattox, others studied the Bible with her and just to see to see her become a Christian was so cool. I don’t know why they did it at six thirty in the morning, but my dog started licking my face at six twenty five says that I’m up. I joined Zoome and watched her get baptized. It was exciting. She studied for about a year and sometimes with the teenagers it takes some time.
That’s OK. Sometimes we’re ready. You know, for many of us we studied the Bible and within about a week time we made that decision to repent of our sins. I know I was kind of like my time’s up. I sort of tried as hard as I could just to sin. I figured that’s my plan. I’ve gone to church my whole life. Let’s try to sin for the rest of my life. And really, my plan was to kind of get back to church around age 40, you know what I mean?
Because I you know, I like church. I like the food and I liked, you know, all those things I liked about it. I like, you know, it’s good people. So I figure, let me just sin from 20 to 40 and then I’ll just kind of, you know, take the senior tour back at church. And and that’s about a year and a half. I was like, this is disgusting. Sin is not delivering on all of its promises.
And I made that decision to repent. And most of my sins are listed right there in Galatians five nineteen through twenty one. And then what happens then when you’re ready. Well, then let’s do it/ like like Ananias said to Paul, what are you waiting for? Get up, be baptized, wash your sins away, let’s look at the early church. Peter preached on the day of Pentecost to believers and really he preached the first part of what we talked about, believing the message.
And not all these Israelites accepted the message, but three thousand did. And they were cut to the heart and in verse thirty six, he says, you know, Peter ends his sermon, says, Let all Israel be assured of this. God made Jesus whom you crucified both Lord and Christ. When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart, said to Peter and the other apostles, brothers, what shall we do? Peter replied, Repent and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
And so that really is, in a sense, the process of of what we see in scripture, of what it means to kind of go from spiritual darkness, from being dead in your transgressions and sins to being made alive. And they work. A lot of people say, well, you know, repentance and baptisms are outward signs of the inward working of grace. And I would simply say, if you look at first, Peter, three twenty one, we won’t read it.
But it talks about baptism, saves you. Why? By the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Colossians two says being buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith. Is baptism a work? Well, if it is the one that did all the work was Jesus Christ. And so his ability to extend grace to us was based on the work that he did on the cross. Like I was going to do, I made it about three semesters and then I turned myself in at age 20.
I’m like, all right, I’m done. And I’m glad I saved those 20 years of sin. By no means we died to sin. How can we live in in any longer? Or don’t you know that all of us who are baptized into Christ were baptized into his death? 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 make a new life.
If we’ve been united with him like this in his death, we will certainly also be united with him in his resurrection, for we know our old self was crucified with him and that the body of sin is done away with so that we don’t have to be slaves to sin any longer because anyone has been died as has died, has been freed from sin. If we died with Christ, we believe that we’ll live with him also. So as you can see this, for many of us, this is something we know.
And let me just speak to that for a second. For those of us who maybe are part of this church and went through, in a sense, a process very similar to this and are thinking great sermon, Marshall, I took you a long time to prepare. I mean, I’ve been studying this out for 20 or 30 years, like I know this. Can you guys, like, praise God that, you know, this, like, praise God, that you know this?
Because not everybody knows this, and I think everybody should know this because we want to live a life free of sin, we want to be set free. And I kind of kept I couldn’t figure out how to break free. Let’s go to the next slide. You know, I sort of you know, I never really put the connection that that there was a process that I had to enter into this covenant relationship with God and entering that covenant. And the terms that God laid out does not undermine the grace of God.
It doesn’t undermine the miracle. Just as the miracle of new birth is new. I don’t know every few seconds on Earth like God is doing miracles, like one more probably just happened right now somewhere in Florida. Conception just and they all went through that process. So to be born again, to be to be a Christian. How many of us have to go through this process to understand, to hear the gospel to to believe and accept it? I believe that.
And then to lead, to change. True change. Crucifying your old life. And then what are you waiting for? You’re ready to be baptized, wash your sins away and and call on his name. And then and then it’s and then you’re good for the rest of your life right? No struggles. I mean, really, God puts his hedge of protection around you. You don’t ever struggle with the same sins again. It’s just it’s it’s magic.
I thought that was going to happen, actually, you know what I mean, like the first day I was like, you know, I just felt like I had this sort of super power. And then the next day I was like, man, I was tempted to lust like, didn’t that just didn’t it disappear? That’s why I said, you know, I love the one day when free from sinning, I shall see your lovely face.
I can’t imagine what life would be like without a sinful nature. I just can’t picture that. I can’t picture me not having the desire. To just say that doesn’t make sense, it’s so much of who I am that sometimes I almost forget, like I’m forgiven, I’m sanctified, God’s blood has washed all that stuff away. Amen. So. What else what else is there? You know, a lot of us, perhaps we grew up either Orthodox or Catholic and and so in a sense, there’s a checking of some of these same boxes.
But but we really have to ask ourselves, is that what it means to be born again? Right. Because they believe in the sacrament of baptism and the necessity of baptism. And so, really, as soon as you are born very quickly, you would be baptized. How many of you guys went through that process where you were born and soon thereafter you were baptized and then later on you confirmed that. So you hear the message. You go through catechism and you study and you kind of say, yeah, I believe that I’m confirming what I did back then.
And then you go through kind of confession. And that’s sort of a lifelong thing where repentance and and so it’s kind of a three, one, two. But again, that’s sort of birth. Gestation, conception, right? And so is that I don’t see examples of that in scripture. What else is kind of popular right now? A lot of churches in the church I grew up in really wanted you to land on believing in Jesus Christ as Lord and savior.
And so I kind of re-upped that many times. Like I reaffirmed that I believe in Jesus. I would go to camps and close your eyes. Nobody’s looking. Do you accept Jesus? Every time I’m like, yes, I know he’s the son of God. And that’s where I drew the line. I never got that that should make a difference. I should repent. I lived in slavery to sin. And so the only difference between me and all my friends, it didn’t go to church- better.
So I was worse. I was guilty all the time. And I just I kind of envied my friends. Like, you guys don’t even feel guilty like I’m a poser. I’m guilty. I shouldn’t be doing this. You don’t care. I just was a hypocrite. But part of it was nobody ever really preached and truly asked me to confess my sin and totally repent of it and then be baptized. Next. Um, a lot of churches, you know, they’ve really begun to- growth and baptism as a ministry in the church.
And so it’s a good thing to do. And they they kind of on the outset it would look like they believe in it. But it’s more for membership. It’s more for a confession of faith that you already are saved. But this is something that’s good to do, like communion, as I said earlier, and then growing and repenting and changing. And so there’s a lot of programs that they put together. And this was sort of the Saddleback model of Rick Warren and and that has kind of spread throughout Americana and become sort of megachurches.
And and the main purchase there is that you all kind of believe in Jesus, but there’s something that is more in scripture. And I think that it’s important that we make that distinction next. And then, you know, a lot of churches now are really seeing, you know, you can see it with David Platt, Francis Chan. You see others that have kind of awakened to this idea that baptism in Acts Chapter two is very compelling, like that was the first sermon of the early church.
And when they say, what shall we do? He doesn’t recite the sinners prayer. Just bow your head. Nobody’s peeking except Jesus. He doesn’t say that. He says repent and be baptized. Churches are kind of putting this piece together. And that is good news. Amen. Before you move on to the next slide, the challenge is, is is anybody actually really dealing with sin? Because I know I would have gotten baptized when I started studying the Bible in this church at age twenty if they would have said, this is what you need to do, be baptized I would have just done it because I was ready. I was open. But we studied about my sin and we confessed our sins to each other and we dealt with sin, and that was the first time in 20 years that I had that talk. And I will tell you that talk with my sin. Thankfully, that’s like practice for what Christians should be doing all the time. James, 5:16, says, confess your sins to one another. Pray for each other so that you may be healed.
What I think what happens if we don’t really deal with our sin is that we miss out on the healing that comes from confessing sin and praying together. And that’s the bond that I think draws us closer and closer as disciples. It’s not that we, you know, how are you? I’m blessed. I’m blessed, too. I’ll see you next week. Bless you. You know, we can’t just church this thing up. We got to get real, right?
We have to get real and talk through our sins and and so I’m encouraged that it’s becoming more commonplace to understand the necessity of baptism. But I also still think it’s important that we just talk to one another. Amen. So we’re going to kind of come in for a landing. I’m going to give you some homework. You can take a picture of this next slide because is this a biblical pattern? This I’m a guy that some of you don’t know.
So if I said something today that does not sound cogent with what you believe, that’s totally fine. This is not what I grew up believing. But the next slide is, I think, compelling. The only place where you see actually people confronted with the gospel of Christ, after Jesus has risen and gone into heaven, which is what baptism is, it’s a participation in the death, burial and resurrection. So it’s binding from that time forth in this new covenant.
And so in each conversion, you kind of see something of this playing out. You seeing you see it play out, you see them confronted with the gospel, you see them confronted with their life, their sin, and then you see a change. And then in each case, you see them say, hey, here’s water, why shouldn’t I be baptized? Amen? And. Next slide, please. What about Romans 10, we’re going to close here and then we’re going to prepare our hearts for communion by singing a song together.
A lot of times this is a scripture that people will put forth saying really all you have to do is believe or confess your belief. And we know this more as the confession of faith that we proclaim at our baptism. What does it say? The word is near you. It’s in your mouth. It’s in your heart. The word of faith. We’re proclaiming if you confess with your mouth, Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead you’ll be saved. For it’s with your heart you believe and are justified with your mouth that you believe and are saved. And so if you look at the text of that, that is actually what we ask people to proclaim at the time of their baptism. This is their confession of faith. You can go to the next slide. What are the questions we asked? Well, there’s some version of this. Do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God, which is believe, right?
Believe is kind of step one. Yes. You confirm that you believe. Repentance is the next step. What is your good confession? Jesus is Lord. Well, that implies repentance has taken place because you can’t make Jesus Lord if you’re still Lord, if you’re sinful, nature is still alive and well, you have to be dead and buried. You have to be lying on the gym floor saying you’re not going to rule my life anymore. You’re sinful nature goes. And then you are now be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins and the gift of the Holy Spirit. So that’s really, according to Romans, ten, eight, nine. What Paul is saying is that’s the that’s our confession. That’s our the faith that we are proclaiming when we see people baptized into Christ. Amen? I would encourage you to study the Bible and review the pattern of conversion that you do see in the Book of Acts.
And to say, is that biblical? And then dare to ask, have I been born again? Right. Have I been born again or am I still dead in my transgressions? And no, that again, the grace of God is sufficient for you. Whatever you have done, God has great plans for you to make you alive again. And what’s cool is that Nicodemus became a disciple, that early connection with him. So many of the Pharisees went the other way, so many of the Pharisees opposed him.
So many of the Pharisees consented to put him to death. But Nicodemus and Joseph of Aramathea, they are two of the people that sort of had this curiosity about Christ when it came down to the cross, when it came down to that decision to put Jesus to death, they did not go along with it. They didn’t consent because they knew he was the son of God and because of their faith, because God chose I mean, because of God’s grace, these people became disciples of Jesus.
And so, lastly, just keep preaching. Again how can they hear unless we preach unless we keep speaking, and if you learned nothing new today, then you are blessed. And you have enough knowledge of scripture to help somebody else become a Christian. We’re going to sing Lead Me to Calvary to prepare our hearts for communion, and then we’ll take communion together. Amen?