41 Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day. 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
DOES YOUR BAPTISM HAVE ANY RELEVANCE TO YOUR DAILY LIFE?
This Sunday the focus was on the importance of ‘Living Wet’, or living a life devoted to our baptism. On that great day when we are baptised we make a public declaration of being buried with Christ, rising again to live as a new creation. Now our life is not lived for ourselves any longer, but by God’s grace and for God’s glory. Baptism is death to self. The trouble is we forget this and quite literally dry up! So what is the solution? We can’t throw ourselves into a baptism pool every time we forget that we are new creation, so how are we reminded that we know Christ in our daily life?
THE CHURCH SERVICE ITSELF SHOULD BE A WEEKLY REMINDER OF YOUR NEW LIFE THROUGH BAPTISM.
In the traditional church building the first thing that can be seen upon entering is a baptism font. This is symbolic of how we begin our Christian life – through baptism. In Acts we are told how people came to Jesus and then they were baptised. Jesus himself commanded us to ‘therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…'(Matthew 28:19)
CHURCH LAYOUT REMINDS US OF OUR WALK WITH GOD:
As mentioned, the baptism font at the entrance symbolically reminds us that baptism is our entrance into new life with Jesus. We then proceed down the centre aisle, walking the journey set out before us with Jesus heading towards the pulpit. The pulpit holds the Word, the Word which should be a lamp to our feet as we walk, and continually guide our steps. This leads us to the table – the altar from where we receive Holy Communion. This is our daily reminder of how Jesus laid down his body for us & shed his blood to cover us, so that now we stand in his righteousness before God. Above all of these we continually can see the Cross; where sin was broken and a fallen world was redeemed. This form is formative. It continually reminds us of the gospel – that our whole life is a response to what God has done for us.
BAPTISM IS BOTH OUR WORK & GODS WORK IN US.
We think of Baptism as OUR thing for God – something that we do for him. In truth it is a gift from him. A gift to us to help us remember; a physical reminder of the Gospel, channeling God’s grace towards us. As with Holy Communion, in Baptism we are able to see, hear, touch and physically do something that then imprints this act on our whole body. A tangible reminder that we are no longer under law (what we can do) but grace (what God has done for us). When you see sin in your life can remind yourself that you have been baptised – God has quite literally drowned the sin in you!
BAPTISM IS A PUBLIC DECLARATION.
Mark 16:16 – As we remember that we were wet, we were covered by water completely, we are reminded that our old sinful self is dead and buried. The life we now live is not our own, but Christ’s. We cannot raise ourselves up out of the water – we require the help of at least one other person to rise up and we do this in public, in front of our church family. Then when we forget that we were wet, there is someone to remind us. When we doubt and are unsure, we have family around to redirect us and help us to live in our baptism daily.
WE LIVE IN CHRIST and CHRIST LIVES IN US.
There are so many powerful symbols and rituals embedded in church history which were designed to help us all remember this powerful gospel message – that our whole life is a response to everything that God has initiated. A commonly misunderstood one is making the sign of the cross over us. Often it is associated with being Catholic, or perhaps seen only when a soccer player makes a great play. However, the sign of the cross over us is a great reminder to us of our baptism!
– In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit – those same words that were spoken over us at our baptism. Every time you make the sign of the cross you are reaffirming your baptism, symbolically covering yourself again as the water did on that day.
WATER = LIFE.
In Genesis we see a pool of water, out of which God raised and formed the whole world. When the world was full of sin God cleansed it with water, bringing new life through Noah and his family. As the Israelites fled Egypt water swept away their past, and sealed the beginning of their new life in the Promised land. As a woman prepares to give birth, her water breaks – a sign that new life is imminent. So it is with our baptism. The old has gone, the new has come.
BY GOD’S GRACE AND FOR GOD’S GLORY.