Baptism of the Lord

Matthew 3:13-17

Who would we like to see get baptized? I think it would have been awesome to see this scene in person. John the Baptizer had been baptizing people as they confessed their sins. Countless men and women were going out to the wilderness to see and hear John. They were turning to God, having been prepared by John’s preaching. They were responding to God’s gracious call to avoid the unquenchable fire by obeying the call to turn to God.

We also respond to God’s grace by obeying him. When we were baptized, we had discovered that God doesn’t allow sinners into his presence. We turn from our sins and our ways of doing things to God. We confess our sins. We receive the Holy Spirit from Jesus and God when we are baptized. We begin a new life once we acknowledge God’s work in our lives. When we turn to God, it is proper for us to be baptized. We show that we are no longer our own. We show that we belong to God.

Who would we like to see get baptized? We cannot go back in time and see Jesus being baptized. But we can tell people about what God is doing through this church. We can invite people to church. For here at church we know people are going to hear about God. We are going to hear about God’s forgiveness. We are going to hear about Jesus giving us new life. We are going to see people’s lives changed as they follow Jesus.

Who are we going to invite to church? Who are we going to see get baptized? All the good things we see God doing in the church, we tell people. God is working here. We respond to God’s grace by obeying him. People can’t obey God unless they hear about what God is doing. We cannot see Jesus be baptized. But we can see other people get baptized.

A. Jesus came to be baptized by John (3:13)
+++1. John was preaching and baptizing in Judea along the Jordan River (3:1-6)
+++2. Jesus came to be baptized
+++3. We don’t know all the reasons Jesus came to be baptized. We realize Jesus did not sin, so he was not confessing sin. It just might be that Jesus was obeying God by being baptized. Even Jesus had to obey God. It sounds like we also can obey God. John the Baptizer also had to obey God when he baptized Jesus.

B. John and Jesus were involved in Jesus being baptized (3:14-15)
+++1. John would have preferred Jesus baptizing him!
+++2. Jesus said it was proper/fitting/becoming for John & Jesus to do this together
+++3. The prophecy was about John preparing the way of the Lord
+++4. How else could John prepare the way than to baptize Jesus, making his paths straight?
+++5. John the Baptizer obeyed God. Jesus obeyed God. If we are to turn to God, then it is proper/fitting/becoming of us to fulfill all righteousness by being baptized as well. It is a sign, a declaration, of God working in and through us when we get baptized. We respond to God’s grace by obeying him. We cannot be righteous unless God is working in our lives. God is working through Jesus being baptized.

C. How are the Father and Spirit involved in Jesus’ baptism? (3:16-17)
+++1. Jesus saw the Spirit alight on himself after Jesus came up from the water
+++2. God spoke from heaven
+++===a. This is my Son, the beloved – God publicly says Jesus is his son!
+++===b. I am well pleased with him – God is glad Jesus has been obedient
+++3. The Holy Spirit is involved in our baptism
+++4. God the Father is pleased when we obey him as we consent to be baptized
+++5. We respond to God’s grace by obeying him. Who would we like to see be baptized? Who would we like to see respond to God’s grace? We have seen God involved in our lives, our baptisms. God claims us through our baptism. God is delighted when we turn to him and obey him. Won’t God be claiming other people as they too turn to him and obey God?

We respond to God’s grace by obeying him. We realize this fact as we remember our baptism. Who would we like to see be baptized? Much like the word spread around Judea when John was baptizing people, I hope word is spreading around Mosheim and Greeneville that God is working here. For that to happen, we invite people to church.

With the two index cards you have received this morning, write three names down on both cards. One card we can place on the altar table when we reaffirm our baptism. The second card we share with our pew partner. We want people to come here to join us in worshiping God. So, this week we personally invite the three people we have named on the cards. Our pew partners will gently ask us this week if we have actually invited these three people to come to church next week.

We invite people to church this week because next Sunday we are starting a series called “Love Life.” We want people to hear how God is working to help us love life. We invite people to church next week because we want to obey God in preparing the ways of the Lord.

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