Sunnyside Church of the Nazarene
Sunday, July 26
  • Oceans (Where Feet May Fail)
  • I Lift My Hands
  • Revelation Song
  • Better Is One Day
  • Please turn to Matthew 3 and 1 Peter 3. We’re in the middle of studying Acts 1:1-5, but I’m not going to read the passage this morning - let you do that. If you recall from last week, in those 5 verses we find a reference to three things:
    1) The Promise of the Father
    2) The Baptism of the Son
    3) The Baptism of Believers
    We’re talking about both water baptism and baptism of the Spirit.
    This morning we’ll focus on the Baptism of the Son - of Jesus. Curious - have you ever wondered why Jesus, who was God in the flesh was baptized? Ever wonder why the Spirit of God descended upon Him? Ever wonder why God said, “This is my Son with whom I am well pleased?”
    We're going to answer those questions, but it will take a couple of weeks - I think there will be some new discoveries. I will say this - to whet your appetite - baptism is more significant than what most of us have been taught or realize - and it has serious implications, not only in the physical realm, but in the spiritual.
    Now, if you read Acts 1, you’ll notice it does not say anything about Jesus being baptized. But is does say that Jesus gave commands through the Holy Spirit. Well, when did Jesus receive the Holy Spirit? At His baptism, which is recorded in all four gospels (Matthew, mark, Luke, John). And so we need to look at that event if we’re going to better understand, not only water baptism, but the baptism in the Spirit and consequently, the rest of Acts.
    Matthew 3:13–17 ESV
    Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?” But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented. And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
    Why would Jesus need to be baptized in water? To answer that, we need to understand the intent and purpose of baptism.
    Baptism in its simplest function is used for religious and physical cleansing. Baptism refers to washing or immersing something or someone in water. The idea here is to go down into the water, to be surrounded by water so that no part untouched. So,
    Not only is baptism about cleansing, it’s about being “all in” or “fully committed.”
    (Once read about some soldiers who were to be baptized. Priests said to renounce being a soldier ….)
    Priests in the Old Testament would prepare for worship and the offering of sacrifices first by washing or purifying themselves - ritual cleansing.
    Gentiles who converted to Judaism were required to be baptized. Gentiles were considered spiritually and ritually unclean and thus needed to be purified.
    In one sense, baptism is a symbolic act of purification, again not in part but in totality - the whole person. And we also know from the New Testament that baptism is symbolic of being identified with the death and resurrection of Christ. That's why we ask people during baptism if they have confessed Jesus Christ as savior.
    I think that is where most of us would stop in our understanding of baptism. It’s symbolic and it's something we should do - it’s important - but other than that ….
    There is a purpose of baptism that goes beyond symbolic and is a stalwart declaration of loyalty and commitment to God Most High - and that has some serious spiritual implications.
    Turn to 1 Peter 3. Skim through this …
    1 Peter 3:18–20 ESV
    For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water.
    Peter connected the death and resurrection of Christ and baptism to Genesis chapter 6. In Genesis 6, the sons of God, or members of the divine council had relations with human women and also provided forbidden knowledge. Their punishment was spiritual imprisonment until the day of judgment. And here we see Jesus after His resurrection victory went to these imprisoned spirits and said, “Neener neener neener. I’m alive! I won and your destruction is imminent. Your fate is sealed.”
    1 Peter 3:21–22 ESV
    Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.
    Baptism is an act of cleansing, it’s about total commitment, it’s being identified with the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, but it’s also connected to His victory over the demonic, over the rebellious principalities, over the dark spiritual forces that we read about in Eph. 6 and elsewhere.
    And one of the key words in this passage is appeal or pledge.
    Baptism is a pledge; it is a declaration of loyalty and commitment to God Most High.
    It is a pledge to align ourselves completely - totally (all in) to the family of God and a denunciation the rebellious sons of God. Remember, we are either under the authority of the devil and his kingdom, or we are under the authority of Christ and God's Kingdom. So in essence, baptism is a declaration of spiritual warfare.
    Michael Heiser wrote this about 1 Peter 3 -
    “Baptism does not produce salvation in this text. Rather, it corresponds to something that does - the death of Jesus and the resurrection. Baptism ‘saves’ if one makes a decision: a pledge of loyalty to the risen Savior.
    In effect, baptism in New Testament theology is a loyalty oath, a public avowal of who is on the Lord’s side in the cosmic war between good and evil.” ~ Dr. Michael Heiser
    This is not just a modern thought. This is how some in the early church thought about baptism. Tertullian, one of the early Church fathers wrote this around 200 AD -
    “To deal with this matter briefly, I shall begin with baptism. When we are going to enter the water, but a little before, in the presence of the congregation and under the hand of the president,
    we solemnly profess that we disown the devil, and his pomp, and his angels. Hereupon we are thrice immersed, making a somewhat ampler pledge than the Lord has appointed in the Gospel. Then when we are taken up (as new-born children). ~ Tertullian - De Corona.
    They understood that baptism was linked to the disavowing of gods, and pledging allegiance to the God. Baptism is a serious event in the life of a believer.
    Let’s connect some dots and wrap it up. Going back to Matthew 3, Jesus said, “… it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Now Jesus was sinless, so this is not about the cleansing aspect of baptism, but there is a connection to His preparing for His role as a Priest. The NT tells us that Jesus is our High Priest. Furthermore, since baptism is a pledge of loyalty to God Most High, then Jesus was declaring, not only to the public, but also to the evil spiritual forces - to the rebellious sons of God that the promised Messiah, the Savior, the Redeemer - the Son of God had arrived.
    What did God say about that?
    Matthew 3:17 ESV
    and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”
    Jesus made a public declaration of loyalty. God the Father made a public declaration of approval. And what’s interesting is in the next chapter what did the devil do? Attacked Jesus’ loyalty and approval. “If you are the Son of God ….”
    Received Christ?
    If you’ve been baptized - have you understood the significance of baptism?
    What are you taking away?
      • Matthew 3:13–17ESV

      • 1 Peter 3:18–20ESV

      • 1 Peter 3:21–22ESV

      • Matthew 3:17ESV

  • Holy Water

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