Monday, June 23, 2014

BAPTISM: "Going Public"

Here are the notes from yesterday's message at New Life Community Church.  Third is the series BAPTISM: Newness of Life, entitled "Going Public".  If you desire to listen to this message you may do so by going to our website at  God bless!

Baptism: Newness of Life, Part 3                                                      Sunday, June 22, 2014
 “Going Public”

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.  Romans 6:3-4 (ESV)

And Peter said to them, “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.  Acts 2:38 (ESV)

Video:  Nacho Libre

1.     Baptism prepares you for SPIRITUAL WARFARE.

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 Immediately coming up out of the water, He saw the heavens opening, and the Spirit like a dove descending upon Him; 11 and a voice came out of the heavens: “You are My beloved Son, in You I am well-pleased.”  12 Immediately the Spirit *impelled Him to go out into the wilderness. 13 And He was in the wilderness forty days being tempted by Satan; and He was with the wild beasts, and the angels were ministering to Him.  Mark 1:9-13 (NASB)

Put on the whole armor of God
Asian Access (or A2), a Christian missions agency in South Asia, listed a series of questions that some church planters have been asking new believers who are considering baptism. (Due to safety concerns, Asian Access does not mention the country's name.) The country is predominantly Hindu, but over the past few decades Christianity has grown in popularity—especially among poor and tribal peoples. The following seven questions serve as a reality check for what new followers of Jesus might experience if they decide to "go public" with their decision to follow Christ:
1.    Are you willing to leave home and lose the blessing of your father?
2.    Are you willing to lose your job?
3.    Are you willing to go to the village and those who persecute you, forgive them, and share the love of Christ with them?
4.    Are you willing to give an offering to the Lord?
5.    Are you willing to be beaten rather than deny your faith?
6.    Are you willing to go to prison?
7.    Are you willing to die for Jesus?
The seven questions serve as a sobering reminder for all Christians from every continent of what it might cost us to follow Jesus. These questions also help Western Christians identify with the threats faced by our brothers and sisters from other countries as they seek to follow Christ.

2.     Baptism is IDENTIFICATION with Jesus.

And it gives you a new identity too.

In 1993, Lt. Col. Gary Morsch joined the Army Reserves as a doctor to care not only for U.S. soldiers, but also for wounded civilians and prisoners of war. In 2005, as a part of the war in Iraq, he was called up to serve as the field doctor for a battalion near the Iranian border. In an article for Today's Christian, he shares a story of something that happened on the last day of his tour of duty:
The Saturday before I left Iraq was one of the most amazing days of my life. I was scheduled to see patients and make rounds at the POW camp, and I asked the chaplain to join me. I wanted to say goodbye to the prisoners. Many of these Muslims had become Christians, and they had been asking for a baptismal service.
The chaplain suddenly decided to conduct a simple service. The POWs gathered around the make-shift baptistery made from a water trough.  We baptized about a dozen that day.
During the baptisms, each man expressed that he wished to take a Christian name. One man asked me to write down each of the apostles' names so he could choose one. Another prisoner, named Afshin, asked me to suggest a name. I suggested James, the brother of Jesus, and told him that my father and brother are named James. Since my family name was on my uniform, Afshin asked about Morsch as well.
The chaplain asked me to baptize Afshin. I asked my friend what name he wished to take. He said, "I wish to take the name James Afshin Morsch." With tears in my eyes, I poured water onto his head, baptizing my Muslim friend into the fellowship of Christ. After our baptismal service, James pulled me aside and told me it was an Iraqi tradition to give a good friend a gift. He slowly slipped a ring off his hand.
"This is my wedding ring," he said. "I haven't seen my wife in many years, and I probably will never see her again. I'd like to give it to you."
I was stunned.
"No, James, you must keep it," I eventually said. "Someday you will see your wife again."
"No, I want you to have it," he said, as he pressed the ring into my hand.
We hugged and said a tearful goodbye, and then I walked out of the POW compound. It was time to return home.
I left on a plane full of wounded soldiers. The airstrip was under attack even as we taxied for takeoff. But I was at peace. God had brought me to Iraq to serve soldiers, civilians, and the enemy. But I saw that those categories are meaningless before God. He loves them all, and calls us to serve them all.
Condensed from our sister publication Today's Christian, © 2005 Christianity Today International. For more articles like this, visit

26 John answered them saying, “I baptize in water, but among you stands One whom you do not know. 27 It is He who comes after me, the thong of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” 28 These things took place in Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.  29 The next day he *saw Jesus coming to him and *said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is He on behalf of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I, for He existed before me.’ 31 I did not recognize Him, but so that He might be manifested to Israel, I came baptizing in water.”  John 1:26-31 (NASB)

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