Baptism in an ordinance:
- Two ordinances – baptism and communion
- Definition – an authoritative order; a decree. Basically, it’s a “command”
- Different from a sacrament – a sacrament (used mostly in a liturgical church) is something that would help offer salvation or forgiveness.
- ORDINANCE – Rather than requirements for salvation, ordinances are visual aids to help us better understand and appreciate what Jesus Christ accomplished for us in His redemptive work. Ordinances are determined by three factors: they were instituted by Christ, they were taught by the apostles, and they were practiced by the early church. Since baptism and communion are the only rites which qualify under these three factors, there can be only two ordinances, neither of which are requirements for salvation.
19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
COMMAND – Make Disciples. Of who? All nations.
Baptizing and Teaching are participles – they further specify what is involved in discipleship.
There are a couple things we need to unpack from this:
- Baptism is a command. People need to follow that command…and if they’re not willing to, my question is always “Why not?”
- Jesus gives the promise that He is always with us to the very end of the age. This is not a cozy reassurance, but rather a necessary equipment for mission.
Key: TO “MAKE DISCIPLES” IS NOT COMPLETE UNLESS IT LEADS THEM TO A LIFE OF OBSERVING JESUS’ COMMANDS. Or another way to put it. Is that a disciple is one that will make other disciples.
Matthew 3:1-12 (MAIN TEXT)
In those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea 2 and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” 3 This is he who was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah:
“A voice of one calling in the wilderness,
‘Prepare the way for the Lord,
make straight paths for him.’ ” b
4 John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey. 5 People went out to him from Jerusalem and all Judea and the whole region of the Jordan. 6 Confessing their sins, they were baptized by him in the Jordan River.
Why did John baptize people before Christ died? He told the people to believe in the one coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” John’s baptism had to do with repentance—it was a symbolic representation of changing one’s mind and going a new direction. “
7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to where he was baptizing, he said to them: “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the coming wrath? 8 Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. 9 And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. 10 The ax is already at the root of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.
11 “I baptize you with water for repentance. But after me comes one who is more powerful than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
KEY: He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire.
The baptism of the Holy Spirit happens the moment you surrender your life to Christ. It’s not an experience, but rather the work performed by Christ.
12 His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor, gathering his wheat into the barn and burning up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
We see 2 pictures in this last verse – Jesus wants to get rid of everything in your life that is worthless. As Jesus works in your heart, as He purifies you, all that is impure needs to get burned away, so only the pure is left.
But we also see John’s message of repentance. Any who do not repent and place their faith in Christ will be eternally separated from God, from Heaven, and from everlasting joy/peace/life with Christ.
We have to invest our lives and everything that God has granted to us in order to carry out His Great Commission.
THE POINT: Daily, I must choose to follow Jesus…no turning back.