Covenant Words
Covenant Words

Episode 593 · 5 months ago

Why God Wants Us to Baptize Our Children

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Acts 2:38-39

Lord, we thank you for your many and your mighty works of creation and of redemption. We look forward to the day when the Lord Jesus comes and brings to perfect completion all the things that you have already begun. We look to him are resurrected and Arisen Savior, and we look for his coming again. Until then, Lord, we ask that you would bless us and strengthen us, as you have promised to do, to be a god to us and to our children. We pray this in Jesus name. Amen. Please remain standing, and let's turn our attention to God's word and acts chapter two. Acts Chapter two. I'll read verses thirty seven through thirty nine. Acts Chapter two, versus thirty seven through thirty nine, as follows the coming and pouring out of the Holy Spirit Peter's sermon, and now the People's response in Verse Thirty Seven. Now, when they heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, brothers, what shall we do? 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, for the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord, our God, calls to himself. May God bless us with his word this morning. May Be seated. Well, as some of you know, and as visitors here today are soon to find out, we are having a little bit of a baby boom here at covenant, for which we are very thankful to the Lord, and we have the opportunity today to baptize one of these new covenant children. And as we are going to do so and have more to come, I wanted to speak to you today a little bit about baptism and particularly why God wants us to baptize our children. It's an important thing to consider because it involves the very covenant of Grace that God makes with us, involves a very significant portion of the membership of our church. How we think about these little ones that are around us and the big ones that were once little ones. The importance of baptism as a general rule is main playing from several scriptures. For example, we have it from the Lord's command in the Great Commission to go and baptize in the name of the father, the son and the Holy Spirit. We also have it in the command through his apostles too, like here in acts chapter two, where we read about Peter's command to them repent and be baptized. He says that the promise is for you and for your children and for who all are far off. We also have it from the example of the apostles and the early believers the importance of baptism. For example, here's one one bit of history from the Early Church and Acts Sixteen, verses thirteen through fifteen. And on the Sabbath Day we went outside the gate to the river...

...side where we suppose there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. One Who heard us was a woman named Lydia from the city of Thiratyra, a seller of purple goods who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul and after she was baptized and her household as well. From then it goes on to talk about some of the things that she did it. So we have these commands and scripture that there is this response of God's people to be baptized, along with their households, their baptized believers and their children. We have this importance of baptism along also given to us in a theology of baptism, not just through the examples and commands, but for example, in Colossians to eleven through twelve, one of many places that speaks to this important issue. Here we have a connection that Paul makes for us between circumcision in the Old Testament and baptism in the new, intersecting at the cross the work of Jesus Christ. He says this. In him also, you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism in which you were also raised with him through the faith or through faith in the powerful working of God who raised him from the dead. So, even if you've not thought much more about baptism and the life of in the Christian life and in life of the church, from these passages alone you can see why baptism has such an important place in the life of the church. But today, with this baby boom under the way under way, I want to go a little deeper beyond just the general importance of baptism to why God in stitudes baptism and, in particular, a few reasons why it is applied to the children of believers, why he wants it to be given to the children of Believers. There are many, many reasons for this. I want to offer just three of them today. The first one is because God makes disciples in community. This is how God's were. God works, it's a pattern he set from the very beginning. Remember that in Genesis, when God made man, we read that he created man in his own image, the image of God. He created him male and female. He created them. And so each of us bears the image of God, yes, individually, but we also bear the image of God together as a community, male and female, and we know that that that community that God formed and Adam and Eve and which he said it is not good for man to be alone. Children were to come forth from that union. God blessed them, we said, he the scriptures say, and God said to them be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it. This reminds us that ever since the very beginning of life itself, our relationship with God is a relationship in community with other people, a family, a household and, even more broadly, under the new covenant and the old how of God, the household of God, the family of God, which is the church. So alone time with God, quiet time with God, is of course critical. He works on us and teaches us things when we are in the lonely places, in the deserted places. Jesus often goes off by himself to be alone. Jesus instructs us to go into your room by yourself, shut the door and pray to your father, who hears you in secret. But that is...

...not where we are supposed to stay and remain all of our lives. So much of our sanctification happens when we are shoulder to shoulder, rubbing, rubbing against our family, our friends, are communities and, honestly, even the creation itself. If you've ever had to do some yard work in the heat of summer, you will learn very quickly about sanctification. It's easy to read do unto others as you would have them to do unto you. It's hard to stay committed and connected to that when you're actually with those others. It's easy to hear love your enemies until they start enemying you, and it's difficult and sometimes, honestly, it can feel impossible. We come to an end of ourselves and we say, Lord, I can't do this. How am I supposed to love that enemy when he's doing this to me and she's doing that to me? This means that the baptized life a life in community, in our families, in our churches, in our world. The baptized life is a tough life, a difficult life. We are set on a path of growth which is in community and requires it, which means there will be challenges, great challenges, at every turn within our families, within our churches. This means that some of us who are been who have been baptized, lose our way, we get off track. We belong to the family but, like the Prodigal son, we've forgotten the great love of the father. There's also means that those who remain at home will suffer great heart ache and times and, like the elder son in that story, have to undergo their own kind of sanctification and repentance. As we think about o our own self righteousness and trust in ourselves, sometimes we are wounded by the very people whom we love so much and we count as members of our family, people who have been marked by God. It even means, heart ache of heart aches, that some, like Esau, will reject the covenant. Blessings and it's Hebrews puts it, crucify again the Lord who saves us. These are scary thoughts, but also realities that the scriptures teach us, the realities and warnings that are meant to draw our faith again to the grace of God that we all so desperately need. That good news, that grace of God is beyond all measure. It truly is God's grace in the lives of our families and the lives of our church, and the lie in the in the whole world, is more than we can imagine. And for those of us who put our faith in the promises that are signified in baptism, we are guaranteed success, measure by measure, in this life, bit by bit, grace by grace, God does perfectly complete and fulfill in the life to come what he promises here and now. It is received by faith alone, by putting our trust in Christ alone, by putting our faith in those things that are signified in our baptisms. So God grants success, God will bring to perfect completion. That's which he that which he starts. But the baptized life will be a tough one. Putting off the old man and putting on Christ as the path that he sets, he sets us on when we are baptized, and...

...believe me when I say it will require the very strength of God to do those things, to put to death the old flesh and to put on the new life of Christ. So this is one of the things, one of the reasons God wants the children of believers to be baptized. He wants to place us all, every single one of us, in a community of discipleship. Yes, it is hard, but God is very gracious and he calls us to put our faith in him. That takes us now to a second reason, a reason which comforts us when we think about how difficult it is in family life, in church life, even as baptized Christians. The reason is this. God does have a very valued place, or special place in his heart. He for the weak and the powerless. One of our great errors, one of our great errors, is thinking that our salvation comes by our own strength. So much of scripture maybe all of scripture is about disabusing us of this point, to help us to understand and believe that our salvation is only and always of God. There's an important moment in the Lord's life in Luke chapter eighteen, verses fifteen through seventeen, that makes this point. In this moment, he actually blesses infant children and warns everybody else, his apostles as disciples in particular, not to get in the way of that's what God's word says in Luke eighteen, fifteen through seventeen. Now they were bringing even, that is, people of Israel. They were bringing even infants to Jesus that he might touch them. And when the disciples sought they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying let the children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the Kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it. Nothing baclar pictures God's placing his benefits and his blessings on those who can't do anything to earn it, than infants. Well, maybe there are other examples, like paralyzed people, blind people, deaf people, people filled with demons, as our elder mentioned this morning. The Lord goes to the sick, to the weak, to the helpless, to those who are stuck, like the man at the pool of the side. I says, I can't get into the pool, there's no one there to carry me. God comes to us in our weakness. He teaches us, in the baptism of children, that there is no thing we can do to earn his blessing. We confess that we are saved in our weakness, that our salvation is all from God and baptism, particularly of the children of believers, pictures this John one thirteen, says so clearly that we are born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but belong but of God. Kids, it's very important that you hear me, and adults, is very important that you hear me, or rather the Lord, on this point. Belonging to God is not an adult thing, it's not a grown up thing, a big thing, it's not a wise thing or a strong thing or a money thing. It's a God thing and it's something that you can only receive, you can never earn it. And to make that point crystal clear. God does not just bless those who can understand that point. God blesses even infants who cannot...

...understand it. But an amazing thing. Finally, in addition to who putting his blessings on the weak and the helpless, on those who are unable to do anything even for themselves, to remind us that that is true of all of our salvation. None of us are able to receive the blessings of God apart from his will and his work. The last reason I want to give this morning one the reason why God wants us to baptize our children is because God wants to keep the Covenant of Grace that he made with Abraham. He is a covenant keeping God. He keeps his promises. He does not lie. In genesis seventeen seven, God made a covenant with Abraham and his children. He says, and I will establish my covenant between me and you and your offspring after you, throughout their generations, for an everlasting covenant to be God to you and to your offspring after you. This is the covenant that God made. The covenant is a solemn promise that God makes. The promise is what to be God, to you and to your children, and who are the parties of that covenant? God on the one side, and Abraham and his children on the other. We are also told that there is even more extended here, because Jen in Genesis tells us that Abraham would be the father of many and would be a blessing to the whole world through him. So we can see that, although Abraham's family would eventually be a nation, before they were a nation, they were a family with a promise, a promise through whom others would be blessed, and because of his steadfast love, God would and has kept that promise. It would not even be undone by the disobedience of his people under Moses, a covenant which they broke, a covenant for which they were kicked out of the land, a covenant for which they faced death and all number of curses. But in the prophets after the breaking of that Covenant With Moses, God speaks to his people and he promises them a new covenant that will be different, that will be new, not like the one that they broke, but it would fulfill the one that God had made with Abraham, a one where he would be their God and they would be his people. Here God's Word and Jeremiah thirty one, thirty one through thirty three, which speaks of the new covenant which we now are a part of in Christ. Here the words of the Prophet. Behold. The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel and the House of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord, for this is the covenant that I will make with the House of Israel after those days, declares the Lord. I will put my law within them, I will write it on their hearts, and I will be their God and they shall be my people. You see, the contrast between the new and the old covenant is not a contrast between Christ and Abraham, it's between Christ and Moses. The contrast between the new and the old covenant is the Covenant that he made with their father's win when he brought them out of the land of Egypt, which was some five hundred years after the Covenant with Abraham. The covenant that they broke is the one that it won't be like this unbreakable covenant, this covenant which is established not by which is fulfilled, not by our obedience, but God's promise. That covenant and that Central Promise to Abraham and his children,...

I will be their God and they shall be my people. That covenant is not done away with, that covenant is fulfilled, and this is what Abraham himself was looking for. To forward to John Fifty six, Jesus says, your father, Abraham rejoiced that he would see my day. He saw it and was glad, and that's why, based on Romans for and other passages, we call ourselves children of Abraham and not children of Moses. When we put our faith in Christ, we receive that same promise that Abraham and his children received. I will be their God and they will be my people. That doesn't I don't as an aside. I don't want to say that Moses's work and that Administration of the Covenant of Grace was not important or didn't have a role to play. It certainly did. Paul tells us it was a teacher, a pedagogue. It was to help us to understand that we were incapable of fulfilling this relationship that God wanted with us based on our own obedience. It would require him, his work and even his blood. The covenant would be cut in Jesus Christ, the son of God himself. All this to say that one reason God wants us to wants us to be baptized in the chill and our children to be baptized, is that he's still keeping his promises that he made to Abraham and his children, and this should be very encouraging to us. We experience broken promises all the time. We break promises ourselves, but in baptism we see the sign of God, God sign, applied to his people. We see the work of the promise keeper, the Covenant Keeper, whose Love Is Eternal and steadfast. We think about that promise that was made long ago to Abraham and we don't say that God failed, we say that God succeeded and he's still keeping it today. Our BAPTISMS, as a sign of God's covenant, therefore remind us who our God is. It reminds us of the nature of that covenant, that I will be their God and they will be my people. They remind us that our God, whose love is steadfast who protects and keep us, keeps us. He's the one who's watching over us. He's the one who died for our sins. He's the one who reigns now for his people. He is the one who provides in himself a steady place for our faith, now and for the rest of our lives. And so, as we consider our own baptisms, as we baptize our children, as we baptize new believers, we keep we just keep saying the same thing. Look to the Lord, look to his promises, look to their fulfillment in Jesus Christ, and you will be saved. Our God is a steady God, a loving God, a gracious God who gives to us a salvation that we are unable to earn on our own. We are like infants being carried, infants that are under lacking understanding, infants that need everything provided for them, and he promises to provide for us in Christ. We could add many more reasons to these, many other benefits and things that we ought to be thankful to God for, but I'll conclude...

...with that today and ask you that as you see a baptism here today, as we witness this, know that this baptism is not just for this little girl, but it is for all of us, that we might see God's Covenant Sign Upon Her and upon his people, that we might put his faith in him, our faith in him, and walk in his ways. Let's pray. Our heavenly father, we thank you for your awesome and mighty grace to us. We thank you that you do not come to us only after we have a succeeded in all things, after we we have come to deep and abiding understanding of your word, after we have perfected our lives, after we have given a great sacrifice and done great works in your name. Lord. Instead, you come to us while we were in our sins. You come to us in our weakness. You saved us while we were still the ungodly. You tell us in your word that salvation comes not through anything we do, but purely through the will and the power and the grace of God. In the washing of the waters, we are also reminded that this relationship with you, in this salvation that we have, is one that we so desperately need. Borne in to sin and into a world full of sin, we need to be cleansed, we need to be regenerated, we need your Holy Spirit to work in our lives in such a way that we can never be separated from you and the love of Christ. Our baptisms remind us of these things, and so, Lord, we ask that you would be at work through your sacraments, blessing us and keeping us as your covenant people. Let our hearts and our minds be fixed solely on Christ alone, for salvation only comes through him, our savior, our redeemer. It's in his name we pray these things. Amen.

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