Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode · 1 month ago

The Holy Help of Baptism

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"The Holy Help of Baptism" 

1 Corinthians 7:12-14

Well, please remain standing with me,as we hear God's word, I'm going to read from two passages this morning onfirst from First Corinthians and then from titus three. So if you wouldplease turn with me to First Corinthians, I'm chapter seven versus twelve through fourteen I'vebeen preaching through First Corinthians section by section, and wecome to the next section in our passage I'm going to be focusingon one particular part of it and then we'll probably return to this passageagain next week. That's the plan for now, first Carinthia, chapter, seven versustwelve through fourteen I'm going to be thinking about we'll get to that. So is first grantthe and seven verse. Well, that's hear God's word to the rest. I Say I not the Lord that if any brother has a wife who isnone believer and she consents to live with him, he should marry not divorceher. If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever and he consents to livewith her, she should not divorce him for the unbelieving husband is madewholly because of his wife and the unbelieving wife is made wholly becauseof her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, theyare holy, but if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so in suchcases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace,for how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband and how do youknow husband whether you will save your wife? So as we consider the holiness that theLord speaks about here? Let's turn to titus now titus chapter three, I'm here we have a great summary of theGospel One of many great summaries that wefind in scripture. So this is tightest chapter threebeginning at verse: Four, but when the goodness and lovingkindness of God our saviour appeared, he saved us not because of works doneby us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing ofregeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit whom he poured out on US richlythrough Jesus Christ, our saviour, so that being justified by His grace, wemight become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I wantyou to insist on these things so that those who have believed in God may becareful to devote themselves to good works, a man you may be see it since Hites Chapter Three, the ApostlePaul speaks to this pastor and he says to Titus: Pastor Titus, ifyou, if you want, as you should for your people, to devote themselves togood works, here's what you need to do right. So here's what you need to do.If you want the people to devote themselves to good works, he says youneed to insist on these things and the things that he insists on are thethings that we read beginning and verse for and other things that he mentionsin this book. When the goodness and loving kindnessof God, our saviour appeared. He saved us not because of works done by us inrighteousness, but according to his own...

...mercy, the Gospel Right, the good news,the promise of God, that we have forgiveness, salvation regeneration,renewal in Christ through the Holy Spirit. The language of baptism is here, ofcourse, the language of washing of regeneration, the language of pouringout the Holy Spirit being poured out richly through Jesus Christ, our Savior, as they think about the work of Christ,as they think about that which their baptisms pointed to they are remindedof the Gospel they reminded of the hope and the promise of God, and, as we consider the Gospel as weconsider the promise, the scriptures tell us that it is that good news thatthe Holy Spirit uses to strengthen us to change our hearts. In his ekil chapter, thirty six Godpromises through his profit that when he comes in the new covenant, he willchange our hearts so that we will no longer be walkingafter foolish things, but we will be devoted to the heart to the things ofthe Lord. That's the promise of it is there now, when we consider First CorinthiansChapter Seven and Paul's talking about someparticular questions surrounding marriage and divorce, but as he's doingthat, he makes this comment about holiness it's an interesting one. Isn'tit he says that the that the believingspouse, the believing spouse in some way anmakes the unbelieving spouse wholly through their relationship, so verse. Fourteen the unbelievinghusband is made wholly because of his wife and the unbelieving wife is madewholly because of her husband. Now clearly, we see that holiness isbeing used in a particular way. The because we're talking about anunbeliever who is marked as holy marked as as separated as sanctified in someway now to understand that and why thathappens and how that happens. We have to understand something about thenature of baptism, which I want to talk about with you today. In light of thesepassages and light of the baptism that we to enjoy and and benefit fromtogether when we think about baptism, there area lot of different understandings about what it does and what it doesn't do. I'm, according to some evangelicalbrothers and sisters baptism is important, but it could be easilyreplaced by any number of things. Charles Ryer, for example, ponders,whether or not we could just construct like a closet on the stage in which we would go into change ourclothes and come out of as a way to you represent a new change, a new way oflife, and it's not a crazy idea. It would symbolize that and it usesbiblical scriptural language of putting on and putting off that we find inColossians three. He suggests the baptism is good and, of course- and wesee it in scripture, but could we not do other things? I'm Waim Gruden apopular Baptist systematics professor up at Phoenix Seminary. He wonders whyour means of grace list is so short. Is Baptism such a major doctrine right?The Westminster Confession of faith tells us that it is a great sin to notto withhold baptism from someone that it belongs to when groton would say, not really, it'snot a major doctrine in the sense that it should divide the people of God.Perhaps God uses lots of different...

...things and then, of course, in someways he does, but why is baptism so important? Why do we make such a big deal out ofit? What is it do? How does it help us? Inthe Roman Catholic view, baptism is important because it infuses Grayson toyou put you into a state of justification. However, if you sin that state can belost, and then you need new infusions of grace under this view, baptism can fateconveys grace as a substance and it does its work, but it can be lost. Itcan be done for a time and then you need penance and other things unto sortof fill you up again. Is that what happens? I think scripture points in adifferent direction than both of these views and others as well baptism, as one person put. It, is notthe cause of our salvation, nor merely the testimony of our salvation, but itis the means of our salvation and in a very particular way. I baptism works as an act of God, anact of proclamation whereby he confirms and he seals, and he is sure his promise to us that he makes in hisword and as such, it is a very helpful to usfor throughout our lives, even though we may be baptized as an infant onbaptism continues to bless us in this way. As the confirmation of that word, how exactly does that work? How do wemake sense of that? Well, if we think about baptism as thesign and seal to use language from Romans for that Paul Talks about with Abraham andcircumcision, you have to ask: Well what is it signifying and what is itceiling, in other words, there's something else there behind it, andthat is the Gospel that we read in Titus. Three, the Gospel. The Promise of the Gospel is that Jesuscomes under the wrath of God as a substitute for God's elect. If you callyourself a Christian it's because you believe that God's wrath is no longeron you, because God the son took it for you, you believe, if you were a Christian,that you are not going to face God's penalty on Judgment Day, becauseJudgment Day is already passed, because Jesus died on a cross, so that Godwould would take that death as your own Paul uses, the language of circumcisionand Old Testament sign to speak about the cross. He speaks of the cross is akind of circumcision and that Jesus in the body of flesh was cut off that wrath and judgment for sin wasremoved. We remember this even not only as hecried out God, my God, my God. Why have you forsaken me? But he was crucifiedoutside the city on an instrument of curse and condemnation, but through all that cutting off,because Jesus was who he was because he was not only fully human representingus, but he was also God with us securing our salvation. When Jesus was cut off, he was cut offnot forever, but he overcame the curse by the virtueof his life. By his perfect sacrifice, he was accepted as righteous before Godfor us and in that a new covenant was formed, a new covenant, a covenant of Grace wasmade in which we would not have to face...

...our own deaths, but we would have his. We would know that judgment hasperfectly passed for us because it is passed in Christ and more than that, wewould also have the very life of Christ eternal and glorious to think about these things. Inconnection with baptism, I want to turn with you to one of some otherscriptures I'll read this morning. This is from Romans chapter six, listen to what Paul says, Verse Fifteen. He says what, then, arewe to sin, because we are not under law but under grace? By no means do you notknow that if you present yourself to any one as obedient slaves M, you are slaves to the one whom youobey either of sin, which leads to death row obedient switzerlands toriteous steps, and then he goes on to say we must present our bodies. We mustdevote ourselves to use the language of titus three, a to God as instruments ofrighteousness. Where does that come from how does aperson who is dead and sin? How does a person who can't do anything all of asudden become this living creature that is able and active and heart is beatingfor the Lord? What happens because of what Paul saysat the beginning of chapter six he says in verse to how can we who died to sin still live in it? How can we who die to since to live init? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesuswere baptized into his death? We were buried, therefore, with him bybaptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead bythe glory of the father, we too might be a might walk in the newness of life,for if we have been united with him and a death like his, we shall certainly beunited with him in a resurrection like his so see. What baptism does one ofthe things it does? It's God's way of marking a person in a very particularway when we baptize a person we in the act,according to the Scriptures we are not LE, are changing the view that manypeople have of human nature of even babies. We are not saying and we are declaringto the world. This baby is not sweet and innocent. This baby is born in sin. This personis born in sin. There's a problem here, a big problem, it's so big that theyneed to be baptized into death baptized into death. That's a very striking thing! Isn't itit's a very harsh, even a marking of a person? But why do we do that? We're notbaptizing them into death. In general, we're not placing a curse on them ingeneral, what is God doing- God baptizes them in his name into thedeath of his son? Why that death, why the death of JesusChrist? Why the death of that particular person and not the death ofa grandparent or a great grandparent, or some important famous person inhistory? We baptize them into the death of Jesus Christ, because only he diedand overcame death. We baptize them into the death, knowingthat that sinful nature needs to die in order that they might receive the HolySpirit of God. The Holy Spirit of Christ and walk as Paul says in thenewness of life.

God is marking them with this promise, a promise that isreceived through faith as they come to believe it baptism to take a step back then, isthen a marking of that promise. It's a marking of that gospel of death and oflife of death and crucifixion, but also lifeand resurrection all of it had only through Christ alone. The Promise of the Gospel is that thosewho believe this are saved. How do we know that? How do we knowthat those who believe will be saved because a word is preached to us tothat effect because God speaks to us and how does he speak to us? Well, asPaul says, in Romans, faith comes through hearing and hearing comesthrough the word of God: God uses external weak things like me to preachhis word in an external way right, you're hearing it right now, you'rehearing the Gospel you're hearing these promises right now in your ears, and then God uses that external word bythe Holy Spirit to bring about internal regeneration. The word in itself is not powerful tosave think about it. This way, if God hadnot promised it, human beings couldn't just assemble the words of the Gospeltogether, assemble a kind of testimony together of what God had done and thenforce God into action. Does that make sense right if we took the words of theGospel and just kind of put them together, God wouldn't then be forcedto act. It's not the words that have a kind of magical power in themselves.The words are powerful to save, because God is the one who speaks them, because, ultimately it's a promise fromGod, as he talks to us, as he tells us. If you believe in this salvation. Ifyou trust and receive these things, you will be saved. That's the word that ispromised. He makes this promise well. How does baptism relate to that baptism? Is the confirmation of thatpromise? We have a great old testament example of this. A God makes a GospelPromise to Abraham. He says I will call you out of this place. I will establishyou. I will make you a father of many nations through you all the families ofthe earth will be blessed neighborhod. Here's that promise andthen says how will I know this will be true and then God ratifies. If he testifies,he assures it with signs. He puts Abraham in a vision. He giveshim the sign of circumcision, a sign that is passed down from generation togeneration to generation. That says the promise is true in some ways, baptismis like a it's, a visible form of the audible word. It's another form ofpreaching in a way we hear the word preached, and then we see the wordpreached, and this is one of the ways that God confirms these promises to us. We do something similar and you'veheard. Some of you have heard me say this before we do something similarlike this. When we get married right with this ring, I v WED right. We givethis token. Sometimes it's used in wedding ceremonies. We give a token asa pledge as a promise that we might look on that and remember yes, thatpromise is sureit's a visible...

...representation of a word that has beenpromised. That's what God is doing in baptism. God uses baptism as a means to confirmand to ratify and to assure us that the preaching of the word is true and thatwhen we believe the preaching of that word, we are saved, and so, whenAbraham received circumcision, Paul says in Romans for eleven, he receivedthe sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith. Paul goes on to make the point that hesaid he received that righteousness by faith before he was circumcised, right,Paulden or Paul doesn't say: Abraham became righteous and justified becausehe was circumcised. The circumcision was the seal of that promise that hehad before him. So with all that said, I'd like tothink with you, as we close now about how baptism then helps us right. So if God is using this sign andseal to confirm to ratify, to testify to the promises that are preached to us, how is that a blessing to us? Well, there are all kinds of ways the one one way we might mention isthat, as we look around us and see these other people who have beenbaptized, these other people who have been marked, we are reminded of thelife that we are brought into in the body of Christ in First Printin',twelve thirteen. We are told that we are baptized into one body, Jews and Greeks, slaves and free maleand female. We all belong to one bad body and our baptism marks us as that,just as wedding rings in a way mark a person, and these two people isbelonging to one another. Our baptisms remark marcus as those who belong toGod and as we look around and as we seethese other people, these aren't just random people with individualrelationships with: U, with God. These are brothers and sisters around. You are members of one body, a body of Christ baptism also impent, depicts are ingrafting into Christ, not just our union with one another, but our unionwith one another in him that language that we read earlier from Ephesians is language of beingstrengthened by his strength by walking by his life, or the language are,though, of things that we heard from Roman six, its language in which we areempowered to move because of who we are in him. Baptism reminds us of that baptismpoints us to that, as we think about our baptisms. We remember I'm not myown. I am marked by the what, by the God, who saves baptism of course, portrays to us thatwe and our children are conceived and born into sin. We need not just to be marked by God.We need to be cleansed by God. We don't just come into into the churchlike members into a club right. If you let's say you wanted to get into sorry, I'm forgetting the word potteryright. You wanted to give in to pottery, and you looked up on the Internet. Youlooked up pottery clubs in Tucson and you go and you show up, and you say hey,I can I be a member and they say yeah as long as you're interested in pottery.That's great just come and join us and we'll practice together and we'll teachyou and we'll have fun. There's nothing that really needs tochange in you to join this club. You just show up and start doing your workand doing the thing. The Christian life...

...is really different. The Christian life says you need to dieand be born again. You need to be marked by God in a newway. You need to be washed, you need to be cleansed. That word is a good word that word that Gospel, that is bothpreached to our ears and to our eyes, is a good word. It's a holy word,whether we believe it or not, right the Gospel doesn't isn't isn'tgood. Only if you accept it. The Gospel is good because it's good because Godpromises it baptism likewise, is good because it's good because God ratifieshe seals those promises, and so, when we receive these things,when we see these things, we don't we don't determine theirgoodness, based on whether we like them or not, whether we believe them or not.We believe them because they are good. We believe them, because God is good. We see in the sign we see and we hearin the promise that a lie that our lives need to be changed. Well, how do we respond to that? How dowe respond to that good holy word? That is preached to us that Good Holy Wordthat marks us. Do we, but do we do we? Does it do we? Do we walk on and say?Well, I guess it doesn't matter, of course not. We respond in faith. We hear the wordhow we believe and as we believe the word, the scriptures tell us. We aresaved. We receive Christ and all his benefits and that's another thing thatthe Gospel promises to us. That's another thing that baptism shows usthis pouring out richly of the Holy Spirit and all his blessings are unionwith Christ, the forgiveness of our sins. Our adoption into the body ofChrist is and into the family of Christ the promises Paul says and in manipiarethat we become airs right, the we are no longer children of Wrath, butchildren of the Lord and heirs of the promise of life, the promise ofResurrection, the promise of walking the promise of renewal. What more couldwe want? Beloved we're so lost in so many ways, and here,as God, promising and sealing that promise to us in a very visible way, the washing with water in the name ofthe father and the son, and the Holy Spirit reminds us of these things. God puts his name on us and calls ushis own. That's a very helpful thing in our world. We find ourselves constantly strugglingand pressured to struggle about questions with identity. Who Are we? Who Am I? How am I supposedto be? How do I fit in baptism preaches to us all of thoseanswers? You are the Lords you fit into the bodyof Christ. Your purpose is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. It'sreceived through faith alone in Christ alone. That's who you are that's, who we areand that's what our baptisms testify too, and so is God blesses us this morning is wet and blesses of, of course, aBennett, let's all receive the Lord's WordTogether, as we welcome the presence are the atpresence in the action of God among us. Let's give thanks and let us believe, these promises that are for believersand their children.

These marks of the covenant of Grayspromised in the Old Testament and the new as well should be received not with a whateveror oh that's kind of cool or isn't that cute, although it might be all thosethings, not the whatever part. There are nice things about what we see but remember what is meant not by US primarily but by God: They're, not baptized, into the name ofChela or covenant, but in the name of our triune God.That's who marks us as his own and so let's praise and rejoice him and putour faith all in him. Let's pray now.

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