Monday, August 6, 2001

Baptism of our Children

Reading: Romans 4
Text: Romans 4:11

Based on "The Wonderful Spirit-filled Life" by Charles Stanley

Introduction

A man walked up to a vending machine,
put in a coin,
pressed the buttons labelled,
“coffee, double cream, sugar.”

No cup appeared,
but the nozzles went into action
sending forth coffee, cream and sugar.

After the proper amounts
had gone down the drain,
the machine turned off.
“Now that’s real automation,” said the man. “This thing even drinks it for you.”

That is just how some people want their faith.
They want to make a deposit,
put in some money
and let the rest be taken care of automatically.

A personal relationship

But, there is no such thing as automated
prayers, devotion, worship…
To be a follower of Jesus Christ…
To have a personal relationship with Him as the Lord of your life
is a manual thing…
it’s not going to happen all on its own…
you have to be involved personally…

The Bible is not a buffet!

Some people treat the Bible
as if it where a buffet…
they just pick and choose
only those commands and promises and verses
that suite their needs
and pass the others by.

The covenant promise

One of those promises
we find in Genesis 17:7,
where God spoke to Abraham and said to him,
“I will establish my covenant as an everlasting covenant between Me and you and your descendants after you for the generations to come, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.”

In Genesis 17:11-14 God continues,
by commanding Abraham
“You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you. For the generations to come every male among you who is eight days old must be circumcised, including those born in your household or bought with money from a foreigner… those who are not your offspring…"

And then He says
“Any uncircumcised male… will be cut off from his people; he has broken my covenant.”

So their bodies were marked as little babies
with a physical sign and a seal
indicating that God made a promise to them…
“I want to be your God”

According to Paul, Abraham
“received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness that he had by faith, while he was still uncircumcised” (Romans 4:11).

Abraham was the one who had faith in God…
and because of his faith
his whole household,
including slaves and little babies
had to receive the sign of circumcision,
a seal of the righteousness…

That is why the Bible calls Abraham
“the father of all believers…”

Therefore, the promise
“to be your God and the God of your descendants after you”
was made to Abraham because of his faith,
and it was guaranteed to all Abraham’s offspring…

and then Paul says
“He is the father of us all…as it is written: ‘I have made you a father of many nations.’” (Romans 4:11,16,17)

When explaining
the meaning of the sacrament of baptism,
some choose to ignore the fact
that God included in His covenant,
everyone in the household of the believer …
including his children…

But Jesus doesn’t!
In Matthew 26:28 during the last Passover
Jesus refers to the cup when he said,
“This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.”

The blood of Jesus always refers to the covenant of God!

In Acts 2:38,39 on the day of Pentecost,
Peter said to the crowd
“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… The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off… for all whom the Lord our God will call.”

In Acts 16:27 we read how Paul said to the jailer responsible for Paul and Silas in prison,
“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved… you and your household… they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house… then immediately he and all his family were baptized… he had come to believe in God… he and his whole family.”

God reminds and assures us in baptism,
whether of those newly born or newly converted,
that His covenant love saves
those in our households who are newly born
as well as those who are newly converted
that He washes away our guilt,
gives us the Spirit,
and expects our love in return.
(Acts 2:37-41; Colossians 2:9-14)

What is a sacrament?

A sacrament is a sign that we can see…
instituted by God
so that when we use it
God can make us understand more clearly the promise of the gospel of Jesus Christ,
and might put His seal (stamp) on that promise. (Heidelberg Catechism, Q/A66)

Are our little babies covered by the blood of Christ?

Who are covered by the blood of Christ?

Our text says
“… that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death… We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead… we too may live a new life. If we have been united with Him like this in His death, we will certainly also be united with Him in His resurrection. (Romans 6:3-5).

We believe that baptism does for our children
what circumcision did for the Jewish people.
(Belgic Confession, Article 34).

That is why Paul calls baptism
the “circumcision of Christ”
“When you came to Christ He set you free from your evil desires, not by a bodily operation of circumcision but by a spiritual operation, the baptism of our souls.” (Colossians 2:11-15… Living Bible)

Through the grace of God,
our children are covered by the blood of Christ!

Their debt for sin inherited from Adam
has been paid in full.
Their sins are swept away and forgotten by God.
In Christ, they are clean and new…
(Eph 4:23,24; Col 3:3-15).

To our children baptism is the sign
that they’re covered by the blood of Christ!

Christ died for the sins of the world…
while they were still sinners… (John 1)
including our children!

Jesus Christ accepted them
even before they accepted Him!
He loved us first …
including our children!

When are we baptized into Christ?

Baptism is always a sign and seal
of God’s promise
that we can be His children only because
Jesus died on our behalf…

And as we grow up
and begin to understand the gospel,
our parents have to remind us of the fact that
“only if we have been united with Him in His death, we will certainly also be united with Him in His resurrection.” (Romans 6:5)
“Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him.” (Romans 6:8)
“… offer yourselves to God, as those who have been brought from death to life…” (Romans 6:13)

We have to teach our children that
“... all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death.”

Why don’t we get baptized again and again?

They say that years ago,
a wealthy lady from the East
made many trips to Salt Lake City
to be baptized for the dead.

Over the years she was baptized 30,000 times!
She did it for relatives and friends
and former people like
Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Napoleon.

A Mormon elder commented,
“I believe that this lady, in the day of judgement, through being baptized for the dead has saved more souls than Jesus.”

We totally disagree with this opinion of baptism.
Baptism is administered only once,
but remains valid throughout our life.

Conclusion
“... all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death.”
 
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