The Power of Baptism Mark 1:4-11 and Acts 19:1-7

January 11, 2015

Ordination and Installation of Officers

Mark 1:4-11 and Acts 19:1-7


Children’s Sermon: (Mark 1:4-11)

Tell me some things that Jesus did while he was on earth.

I would like to read you the story from the Gospel of Mark about something else Jesus did.

Read (Have Larry come down the aisle as I read, with a pitcher of water that he sprinkles on people as he walks.  He should be shouting out, “Repent!” until I read the words, “And this was his message:”  then he will quote v. 7-8.  As I read v9-11 he should pour the water into the font)


Why do you think Jesus was baptized?  He wanted to show his obedience to God, his Father.  And he wanted to show us that even though he was the Son of God, he was a human like us.  Being baptized isn’t a magic charm, it is a symbol of our belonging to and being obedient to God. 


What are some other ways we show our obedience to God?


Let’s pray that God would help us every day to live out our obedience to him.


Intro: It’s true you know.  There is a thought in the minds of some that baptism is equal unto fire insurance. That when an infant is baptized the following automatically occur:  they are instantly receive Salvation, they immediately become Regenerate or born again.  However, this view does not hold that personal faith is needed at this time for these things to occur.   In this view, baptism is a sacrament and carries with it, in this scenario, the idea that one must have their infant baptized and that this removes all sin from their life.  Well, one need only to live with a baptized toddler to understand that this is not particularly the case. 


There is another thought that baptism is only for those who have come to faith as adults.  That it is merely a sign of belonging to Christ – an ordinance: Purely symbolic.  It is the response of faith, A step of obedience, and Voluntary.  You have to be of an age to choose to follow Christ in order to be baptized.


And then there is a third view.  It happens to be the Reformed view of baptism, in which we hold that baptism is a Means of Grace and includes: Incorporation into Community and requires that Personal faith is necessary somewhere on the journey – if it be an infant, when they mature and confirm their faith or an adult who comes ready.  We hold that it is an outward sign and seal of what God is doing inwardly in our life.


I give you those three understandings of Baptism just to clarify. 


As we read Acts 19:1-7 we find that the folks at Ephesus had received “John’s baptism” but not the baptism that the new Christians under Paul’s ministry had received.  Let’s take a look.   Pat will READ. 


In the early church there were already two different understandings of what baptism meant!  But here, Paul clarifies that to be baptized in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ, brings with it, for believers, the filling of the Holy Spirit.  In this account the Spirit manifests itself through the gifts of tongues and prophesies.  We don’t see that very often – I’ve never seen it happen during baptism – but I pray that every person who is baptized is constantly in the process of being transformed by the Holy Spirit.


Today as we think about baptism and especially the baptism of Jesus we acknowledge four elements which are said to “illuminate the meaning of the ritual for a Christian: Assurance of Sonship, Call to Servanthood, Commissioning for Ministry, and Anointing with Holy Spirit.”[1]


Today we are ordaining two deacons and installing two elders and commissioning two trustees.  In the process we reflect and renew our baptismal vows.  How appropriate, for only through the Holy Spirit working in us are we able to serve the church in the manor that pleases God.


What happens when we open up our lives to the Holy Spirit?  There is a shift in power.  We relinquish ours and give it, willingly to God.  The Spirit is then cut loose to move and act in our lives.  Think about how you have seen the Spirit active in your life or the lives of others.  There are probably some among us who have received the gift of tongues.  There are others who have the gift of prophecy and interpretation.  There are those here who have the spiritual gifts of Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Shepherd and Teacher.  We have received these gifts, but are we using them?


Exhibit A:  I present to you the Spirograph.  Given to one Barry Ballard on the occasion of Christmas, 2013.  Today, I picked up this box still sitting where it was placed after unwrapping on that aforementioned Christmas day.  Given, but unused.  I, the giver, get a little frustrated over this lack of use.  Especially stacked up with the years of other art supplies that were given to encourage my spouse to do what he loves, but which also go unused.


And I wonder, “Is this how God feels when he gives us so many wonderful gifts to use to encourage us and others and we leave them undiscovered and unused?”


Today the elders will retreat and part of our time will be spent thinking about goals for the coming year.  You will hear about them at our Annual meeting on January 25th (let this be our first announcement).  I wouldn’t be surprised if somehow the discovery and use of our gifts as a congregation might be worked into those goals.  Stay tuned!


Concl.  As baptismal vows are reaffirmed this morning, remember your own baptism.  Remember that the Holy Spirit lives in you.  Remember that you are called by God to ministry, right from where you are.  You have been gifted for what God has called you to.  Do you have the courage to get out of God’s way and to allow the Spirit to take over and guide you?



[1] Michael Green, Baptism; Its Purpose, Practice and Power. (London: Hodder and Stoughton,, 1987). Pp 40 - 42