Part of the Sunday after Epiphany series, preached at a Sunday service
The Promise of Baptism: “Brothers and sisters in Christ, through the sacrament of baptism we are initiated into Christ’s holy church. The universal church! We are incorporated into God’s mighty acts of salvation and given new birth through water and the spirit. All this is God’s gift offered to us without price.” The price is already paid by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. In baptism, we’re walking into God’s arms. We’re walking through that door into God’s presence that’s there for us all the time, and that’s God’s grace. Baptism is a huge symbol -- it's the water of creation. . . .we are born anew. . . . life in the Spirit . . . all the "stuff" of the day is washed off. But with “The Promise” comes “The Challenge” of living into our baptism.
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1But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. 2When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee. 3For I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. 4Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life. 5Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; 6I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth; 7Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him. (KJV)
15And as the people were in expectation, and all men mused in their hearts of John, whether he were the Christ, or not; 16John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: 17Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable. (KJV)
21Now when all the people were baptized, it came to pass, that Jesus also being baptized, and praying, the heaven was opened, 22And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased. (KJV)