We are baptizing at the San Marcos River, July 5th. If you haven’t been baptized or know someone that hasn’t, please read this post. It covers the concepts of baptism very well.
This was written by a new friend of mine: Dr. Jeff Garner:
“Baptism- The watery replica of Jesus’ tomb serves as an invitation to be in Jesus. Paul terms it “in Christ,” “In Him,” and “In Whom” and speaks of baptism as though it were a washy lost and found. It’s a call to lose your sin-identity in Christ’s righteous identity. When you look at Jesus, from your baptism forward, you will see yourself in him. Baptism is the event by which you are placed in Jesus Christ. Your baptismal is a re-enactment in the redemption story of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection. You choose to separate from your old life and old self and going under the water is a type of burial and rising up out of the water is a type of resurrection. Our final exhale as we are placed under the water is a type of final breath and our held breath is a type of burial and our first inhale is a type resurrection life.
Several realities occur during the ritual. First, you are made aware of God forgiving you. You are forgiven. Given a clean slate. The old you stays in the water, and is buried. Second, you enter into a covenant with God. You accept his life and cross as a token of good faith and You choose to follow him and be his disciple. Third, the new you rises up out of the water to walk in fresh life.
Before Entering the Water . . .
• Picture one: “Are you ready?” “Before entering the water we are going to enter a story. You stand on a stony incline descending into a watery abyss. A man, called Jesus, looks at you, “Follow Me.” You ponder these words. Am I worthy to follow him? What if his path is too difficult? But you feel that this Jesus loves you. He smiles at you and you are drawn to him. He then whispers, “Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me.” Standing here in this moment you answer back to him, “I will follow.”
• Picture two: Its raining outside. You have traced the steps of the one you are following to an open arena. You watch as Jesus is bludgeoned and bruised. The image skips. You behold a charred piece of timber and stapled to it is your Savior. He suffers. He freights your death sentence. He dies. You have followed him to this. Do you believe he suffered your death, carried your shame?
• I ask you right now is this the Jesus you wish to follow? Do you believe he is the Son of God?
• Confess: “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God”
• Picture three: a first century burial tomb. There are two shelves in this tomb. . . one is already occupied: Jesus lies motionless on the stone slab. The other shelve is for you, the old adam, the old eve. He said, “Follow me.” This dark grave is where you are going to part with you. You are burying you today. The you that distrusted God, sought your own way, lived your own life, and was filled with guilt, shame, injury and pain. The empty, exhausted, and imprisoned you. When you embraced his death something in you died and now as you embrace his lifeless corpse something in you is being buried. They roll the stone covering over you.
• What are you going to bury in this tomb?
• Confess: Colossians 3 “I renounce all the works of sin. And put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within me: sexual sin, impurity, lust, and shameful desires, greed, anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language and lying.”
You, the baptizee will be in the water. The baptizer will say, “I now baptize you into Jesus Christ.” At this point you will be put under the water. When you come up out of the water “call on the name of the Lord.” In reference to this sacrament of baptism the Scripture says, “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” And, “there is no other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” And, “whoever believes on his name would become the sons and daughters of God.” Repeat the name of Jesus in worship and gratitude. Thanking him for forgiveness. Let it be real. Organic. Pure. From the heart.
• Picture Four: you are a lifeless corpse. The stone is rolling over the opening. Darkness settles in. Your body will sink into burial in a moment. You spy ahead to what you know will happen. Your first breath after coming out of the water will be a deep breath you will inhale resurrection life. But before that happens reflect: You are being buried with Jesus Christ of Nazareth. What is the worst sin you ever committed? Or what is the darkest fear you have? What is the gravest hurt in your life? What fear limited your life? What shame are you reminded of in your lonely times? What does all the human anxiety in your life look like? Now . . . you are going to bury all of this and so much more in Jesus’ grave. You are going to lose all of this in Jesus. You are going into Jesus Christ. Are you ready? The old you slowly takes a final breath and you slowly exhale your last. You hear my voice, saying, “I now baptize you into Jesus Christ.” [By saying in Jesus’ name the baptizer is invoking the covenant name of God. You are cutting covenant with Jesus Christ. It is as if Jesus himself is baptizing you. As you are held under the water for that second, let it all go.]
• Confess: [while still seated but after your time of worship has ceased] Colossians 3 “I have been buried with Christ in baptism and I now rise to walk in newness of life. In the place of the old me I clothe myself with love, tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. I make allowance for other’s faults and forgive those who have offended me. The Lord forgave me, so now I forgive others. This brand-new nature will continually being renewed as I learn more and more about Christ”