Showing posts with label baptism. Show all posts
Showing posts with label baptism. Show all posts

Friday, December 9, 2016

Prepare the Way: Second Sunday of Advent 2016



Sermon based on Matthew 3:1-12, in which John the Baptist points us in the right direction to get ourselves properly prepared for Christmas. This is an important message to approach humbly, with an open mind, and our defenses down. Being in right relationship with God and humanity is the challenge of a lifetime.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Friends Praying and Acting



For Baptist Heritage Sunday, this sermon explores the many ways Baptists have served in the world, and how we go about our business there. We Baptists have long grappled with major social issues, seeking God’s will through the Holy Spirit’s guidance on decisions like the end of slavery in the United States, the integration of freed slaves into society, women’s rights, and civil rights. Today we continue to seek God’s guidance in the challenges facing us. Like Barsabbas and Matthias, the vast majority of us do our work quietly behind the scenes.

Based on Acts 1:15-17, 21-26.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Why Do Baptists Baptize?

While most Baptist churches have heated baptismal pools installed,
sometimes we have been known to head down to the river!
For us Baptists, "believer’s baptism" has always been central to the Baptist witness. By "believer's baptism" we mean that, for ourselves, only those who are mature enough to learn about Jesus and Jesus’ commandments, to understand them to an extent (understanding continues to grow throughout a believer's life), and accept them for themselves may be baptized. That baptism is a public profession of faith in what God is already doing inside the believer, redeeming that person through Jesus. Baptism also becomes the gateway into the church of God’s saints. It is a beautiful service our whole church community celebrates, in which the pastor submerges the person baptized into a pool of water and raises that person back up (right away), following the example Jesus set for us by his baptism in the river Jordan, as described in the Bible in Mark 1:4-11: 

4John the baptizer appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. 5And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.6Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. 7He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. 8I have baptized you with water; but he will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.” 
9In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. 11And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

Our Baptist name comes from this penchant for baptism. It was first given to us as a negative name, in the same way Christian, meaning “little Christs” was given to followers of Jesus at first to shame them. In both cases, to their credit, believers stubbornly accepted the names and made them their own.

For Baptists, that plunge into the water represents the death of the old sinner and the rebirth of the new follower of Jesus. The journey begins with teaching, which blooms into faith, turns into the public witness of baptism, and continues with the gathered, faithful witnesses and all the saints of the church who have gone before us.