Baptism of the Lord January 11, 2015

God just might be a United Methodist. I saw this statement with the same tone that Hokie fan says that God must be a Virginia Tech fan because the colors of fall are Chicago maroon and burnt orange. Or when a Volunteer fan says that God is a Tennessee fan because a certain sunset is Tennessee orange.

Look what God does. His Spirit is hovering over the waters at Creation, and light is spoken into existence. There is order that comes out of the chaos. Or when John the baptizer is baptizing people. Jesus gets baptized and the Holy Spirit descends like a dove. John is preparing the way of the Lord, making order out of chaos. Then there is Paul visiting Ephesus. Paul asks the disciples there if they have heard of the Holy Spirit. Once the disciples are baptized in the name of Lord Jesus, they received the Holy Spirit, spoke in tongues and prophesied. Again, there is order that comes out of chaos.

God does that. God brings order out of chaos. And it is Holy Spirit that does that even today. When we are baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus (and God the Father & the Holy Spirit), we receive the Holy Spirit upon us. As we live as disciples of Jesus Christ, we then are led by the Holy Spirit to perform miracles, prophesy, witness to our faith, and maybe even speak in tongues.

The Holy Spirit can do all this through a baptized man, woman, or child. Yet, we have a part to play. How can we be open to what the Holy Spirit is doing in this world? By what means do have for the Holy Spirit of God to work in and through us? How can we be servants of Christ in this world?

A. Baptism is a covenant
+++1. It would be great for us to baptize many people
+++2. God is already working in this world to get people’s attention
+++3. God is present in baptism by making sure the baptized person knows that they belong to God
+++4. In baptism, we are saying that God has been working in our lives and we are publicly professing our faith in him
+++5. The Holy Spirit is working to get us to acknowledge God in our lives, to show that God has made order in our lives out of the chaos we have lived. In baptism we are saying that we are going to live our lives for God. In baptism we hear God say that our lives know belong to him. Yet, there are times that we do not live up to our side of the agreement. What do we do then?

B. We renew this covenant
+++1. Much like creation took 6 days, our becoming holy like God takes many days
+++2. We want to be called good, like the light that was made on that 1st day
+++3. We do not always live that way, we forget what God has done & is doing in us
+++4. We ask ourselves, once again, will we be Christ’s servants?
+++5. We can agree to be Christ’s servants through the Wesley Covenant Service by
++++++a. Time with God
++++++b. Be serious – seek & live God’s holy way
++++++c. Claim God’s covenant – take hold of the Bible’s promises
++++++d. Resolve to be faithful – be the disciple of Jesus that the Holy Spirit empowers
+++6. These are the means we have for knowing that the Holy Spirit is working in and through us. We may have been baptized decades ago, yet we still are alive today by the power of God’s Holy Spirit. Let’s live by the order that God’s Spirit brings to our lives. How then do we do live our baptism today?

C. Let us renew that covenant today
+++1. God has brought you here today
+++2. The Holy Spirit is working to create order in all the chaos of our lives
+++3. Even if you have not been baptized yet, you too can see the dedication and commitment needed to be a disciple, a servant of Christ, baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus, and filled by the Holy Spirit.
+++4. God’s Holy Spirit is working to transform our realities. As our goodness lacks, the Holy Spirit recreates our lives so that God’s goodness is found in us. God is working to get our hearts that have turned to sin, to be turned to God. I hope then that you are willing today to renew that covenant we have with God.

No, it turns out that God is not a United Methodist. Neither is God a Hokie or Volunteer fan. But God does desire for United Methodists to be more like God – holy, good, and righteous.

We become more like God when we live God’s claim on us. This claim is revealed to us before we are baptized. This claim becomes a covenant between God and us when we are baptized. This claim is lived by the power of the Holy Spirit in and through our baptized lives. Let us renew that covenant today.

(Contact me to get a copy of the Wesley Covenant Service.)

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