Remember Your Baptism and Be Holy

Remember Your Baptism and Be Holy

 

Mark 1.1-13

Isaiah the Prophet

John the Baptist

Jesus’ Baptism

Dove and the Voice from Open Heaven (Trinity)

Immediately sent into wilderness experience.

  • Spirit-led
  • 40 days
  • Tempted by Satan (like in the Garden)
  • Animals and Angels took care of him

Matthew 3-4

Isaiah the Prophet

John the Baptist

John the prophet’s message

Conversation between John and Jesus

Baptism of Jesus

Dove and the Voice from Open Heaven (Trinity)

Immediately sent into the wilderness experience.

  • Tempted by the Devil
  • 40 days and nights
  • three temptations
    • stones to turn into bread (creation)
    • self-inflicted harm in the Temple (self-sacrifice)
    • kingdom of earth upon a mountaintop (Sinai)

Luke 3-4

John’s message

Response to John, true prophet

Jesus’ baptism

Dove and the Voice from Open Heaven (Trinity)

Jesus’ genealogy

Jesus’ temptation

  • Starvation
  • Kingdoms of the world
  • Self-injury in the Temple

John 1

John’s Testimony about John the Prophet

Isaiah’s testimony

John baptizes Jesus

John sends his disciples to follow Jesus

Jesus’ Baptism

according to Mark, Matthew, Luke and John

When we look at these texts collectively, we see they are the same yet different. All of these people were serious about their relationship with Jesus. Each one very much wanted to convey the Gospel story to their people they loved. Yet all three stories look completely different.

It’s the same John the Baptist, same Jesus, same call, and same God but different stories all bearing the same truth. All of them are completely right in their own storyline. Not one of them are “wrong.”

All of them are faithful followers of Jesus, not one of them was a half-hearted Christians. Yet, each one of them experienced the storyline differently. All of them were in a covenant friendship with Jesus …all of them were disciples …all of them were accountable to their church communities when they wrote the stories. Each one was an accountable disciple in a covenant relationship with the household of God, just like each one of us here today.

Accountable Discipleship in the Household of God

By Steven Manskar

Covenant is a relationship between God and his people. It all begins with God extending an invitation to his people to be in relationship with him. God initiates, signs, and seals the deal with the blood of his own son, Jesus, who delivers us from the power of sin and death.

Discipleship is the human response to this covenant of love. The goal of discipleship is that we come willing into a relationship with God to be formed into his image. Discipleship says, “let the same my be inside of me that is inside of Christ Jesus.” Discipleship becomes the life we live within the context of the household of God. When we become disciples, we give up our rights to our own personal feelings and beliefs by taking on Christ’s very own disposition about things. A disciple by its very nature means living in the context of a community of believers.

Disciples become conformed to the image of God within the context of the community of faith. Discipleship happens in community with others – not alone. Disciples are to be accountable to one another in their words and deeds. If we do not remain in accountable relationships with one another, we become self-deceived, self-righteous, and self-centered. We cannot stand as lone rangers either inside the walls of the church nor outside the walls.

Because disciples submit to the transformation of their inner self to be conformed to Christ’s likeness, then we no longer get to make self-centered choices as to what we do in our lives. Our lives are given over to the collective of the household of faith.

As disciples we celebrate two sacraments – baptism and communion. Each one holds significant meaning. Today we will speak only of the baptismal sacrament. When we think about baptism, we often think of the use of water being poured, sprinkled or a person being immersed.

Baptismal Covenant is the relationship that makes discipleship possible because it binds us to God and one another in Jesus Christ. The symbol of water baptism marks the beginning of the relationship between us and the church. In the act of baptism God claims us as his very own child and adopts us into the household of believers by faith alone. In this great act of mercy God promises to always love and forgive us as his adopted children. Baptism is God’s work. In baptism we receive the gift of the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit.

Accountability is how we make sure that our discipleship is happening. Being accountable to one another helps us all grow into the image of God rather than the image of a distorted reality in our thoughts or in the culture around us. Watching over one another is love helps us to stand against the traps and vices of our flesh. Accountability helps each one of us to pull off our visors to see the areas of our lives that we are living in self-sufficiency. Being a disciple is hard work. We must fight the temptations to do what we feel is convenient for us, or to do what we find interesting, or do what we want because it just feels right. Accountable disciples do not get to do what they want to do – they do what God requires of them. They are called and sent to do tasks that only God can do through them.

Disciples have one main goal – to tell the story of Jesus Christ in their lives. Disciples tell the Good News to the world around them. Disciples live holy lives that others can see – humility, compassion, healing, wholeness, justice, peace keeping, and holy contemplation. The Holy Spirit guides and empowers each of us as disciples to be faithful witnesses to God in the world and in the church.

Jesus gave the disciples one main household rule. He told them to love God and neighbor. And when he told his disciples to love their neighbor, he offered a clause – love your neighbor …as yourself.

For us United Methodist we have added three rules to support this notion of loving your neighbor.

First, do no harm, and avoid all kinds of evil. If what you are doing or saying is creating harm, then you are to stop doing it. Period. If you are participating in evil or your friend or family member is choosing to do evil, the change your relationships.

Second, do all the good you can. If you are not doing good, then you need to start looking for opportunities to do good for your neighbors, not only in the church but especially to those outside your sphere of influence.

Third, employ the means of grace – offer prayers continually, “fast” often, participate in communion as often as you can, study God’s Word diligently, and join an accountability group that you might grow and mature in your faith.


Service of Profession

Order of St. Luke

Through baptism we are made into the one Body in Jesus Christ. We are commissioned to service and witness through our various responses to God’s love shown to us through Christ Jesus, the source of our salvation. Through the renewal of our baptismal vows we are given the opportunity to enter into this family we call the church.

As the church we have been called out to express the mind and mission of Christ by devoting ourselves to a life of gratitude and devotion, witness and service, celebration and discipleship. We have been called to proclaim the ongoing work of salvation through worship of God and the constant use of all the means of grace as we strive on toward perfection.

We propose here to affirm our commitment to the covenant of reconciliation that is the foundation of our faith. And, our pledge to serve God, study Scripture, offer our spiritual gifts, give our financial talents, and practice our Methodist heritage of accountability as faithful members of God’s household.


The Worship Resources of the United Methodist Hymnal

Service of Baptismal Covenant

By Hoyt L. Hickman

 

In baptism we were joined to God and to the whole church through a gracious covenant. A covenant implies an interaction between parties – one person to another. In the baptismal covenant God promises that we are adopted sons and daughters by divine goodness, not by anything we merit or can earn. In response, we promise to live as faithful people within the community of the church.

God’s promises are never broken. There is no such thing as rebaptism, because God never goes back on the promise to regard us graciously. But we continually break our promises to God, if only by forgetting about them. Therefore, we are called to renewal again and again. From time to time it is well for us to be reminded of our faithlessness and to reaffirm our part of the baptism covenant.

Every time we witness someone else’s baptism, confirmation, or reaffirmation of faith, we should renew our own commitment, whether aloud as a part of the service or quietly in our hearts. But on some occasions, like today, when there are no candidates for baptism, confirmation, or reaffirmation of faith, we can join in such a renewal as an entire congregation to remind one another that we are all in this together. Our commitment to God and each other remains strong if in the midst of schism and disagreement with one anther.

This is the meaning of our service today. When we have affirmed our baptismal faith through the vows and the use of the Apostle’s Creed, we give thanks over the water by recalling God’s mighty works of goodness toward us and his whole creation.

In these actions we gratefully remember our baptism. Today some of us will remember our own water baptism event, or the moment when we realized God wanted us to be in a deeper relationship with him. Today we remember the deep meaning of the covenant grace of baptism. We remember God’s mercy and strengthening power by the act of faith. We remember our resolve to be faithful Christians.

In Ezekiel 36.25-26 says that God has a covenant promise for his people. God says to the people, “I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean… A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you.” Water is the symbol of this cleansing act where God gives us a clear conscious to him and one another. As far as it goes for you, let this water by a reminder of what God has done for you, and with thanksgiving in your heart, renew your commitment to Jesus Christ in his Church.


A Plain Account of Christian Perfection

By John Wesley

Wesley once instructed his followers to beware of schism, of opinions coming to tear the church apart with inward disunity among the believers. Wesley did not believe other people’s opinions should ever come to divide or separate people.

Wesley urged his people not to condemn others who think differently from you. Wesley urged his disciples to remain in fellowship with those of differing opinions, and not flee from them. Mr. Wesley warned his followers to beware of pride, self-will, anger, and unbelief that will lead astray into self-deception. Wesley reports that bearing with one another and suffering our differences in meekness and silence is the sum of the good Christian life.

So as we gather around the baptismal font today let us recall our commitment to God and neighbor, church and the world. Let us remember that we are called to a covenant relationship with God …we are called to be disciples who live in an attitude of the Good News …we are called to accountability within the household of God …we are called to fast, pray, read God’s Word, take communion regularly, and be in small accountability groups which Wesley calls Christian Conferencing.

Wesley warns us to suffer our differences with meekness and silence as that is the sum of the good Christian life. Let us practice the opportunity to listen to God in silence before we renew our baptismal covenant vows with each other and God himself.

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