John the Baptist
John the Baptist is a man standing in the distance, a voice is thundering through the crowd. There is something different about this man. Out in the wilderness, he declares the Word of God to the gathered crowd and presents himself with an authority not found in the marketplace or synagogues. Something seems as if this is akin to the prophets of old heard through the years. As he speaks of this One that is to come, many are drawn to him and the news of this coming King is spreading.
The Message of Repentance
The message is a simple one of repentance but one the Jewish people and Gentiles had not heard before. There is no mention of the law, something the culture was very accustomed to. In fact, John harshly rebukes those law teachers who do come out to hear him. Many people are dunked into the water at the river Jordan, as he does what is called “baptizing,” or “baptizo” literally meaning to immerse, getting his namesake as John the Baptist.
Jesus is Baptized
Everything comes together as the one John has been announcing comes on the scene and reveals himself. Why, it is none other than John's cousin, Jesus, who is here to be baptized by John. John proclaims that he is not worthy, but Jesus insists, confirming this practice is an example to follow and a message to embrace fully as the only way to salvation! Repent and be saved. This is the Way! Even though Jesus had no sin to repent of, He is the new "Adam" setting forth a path for all to follow.
We are commanded to be baptized. It is the very first step in our Christian walk after we initially believe on and confess Jesus as our Savior. This first work of grace is one of the commanded ordinances of the church, along with remembering him with the sacraments of Holy Communion. As communion itself is a means of remembering, baptism in water is a means of proclaiming what Christ has done in your life. This baptism of repentance does not literally remove your sins but testifies to the fact that Christ has! In one moment, we become symbolically united with Christ in death, burial, and resurrection.
Fan the flame of your First Love
In Revelation we are told to “do first works again” and, as baptism is the very first work of a Christian, there is a biblical precedent to be rebaptized. Immersion is the biblical model of baptism, and this public declaration best follows a definitively intentional commitment of faith. In this way, a believer may be rebaptized if they're are returning to the Lord or if they are in any way not satisfied with their previous baptism.
Is the Lord stirring your heart to return to your first works?
Use the “Respond” form in the “Next Steps” button and let us know that you would like to be baptized!
Push into His presence in a deeper way this week! You will be surprised the difference in your experience with God when you connect with a Spirit-filled community to encourage you and spur you on when things get difficult. The Holy Spirit is moving around the world, and we are preparing for a great local move of His Holy Spirit here in Durham before Jesus's soon return.
God's Word is both timeless and powerful today!
We hope that you will consider this week's message in greater depth in the days ahead and meditate on God's Word in the attached pdf outline.
You can find the sermon and all resource attachments by clicking here.