Matthew 28:19 | The Baptism of a New Disciple | Andrew Gutierrez
Topic: Worship Gatherings Passage: Matthew 28:19
It’s a privilege to have this, isn’t it? Not everyone has one of these today, and we do. So, it’s also a privilege for me to say, open your Bibles to Matthew chapter 28.
If you’re new with us, we’ve been going through this series and have a couple weeks more in it as we look at, what is the mission of the church? What are we to do? How are we to honor the Lord in our obedience as we start this church plant?
We’re looking at the last words of Jesus Christ before he went back to heaven and left us with the Holy Spirit, who, interestingly enough, in John’s gospel, he says it’s better for us to have the Spirit. Those are amazing words. He was leaving, to go to heaven, saying it’s better for you if I leave you the Spirit. So we’ll get to that shortly.
But this morning I want to talk to you about the topic of baptism. We kind of turn a corner in this series. We started in verse 16 saying, okay, the eleven disciples were gathered on the mountain in Galilee—let’s pause. What’s a disciple? We talked about what a disciple was, and then we looked at the factr that Jesus Christ was telling them he had authority over everything in heaven and on earth because he’s going to send them off into a mission, and a mission that’s not always the easiest to engage in—telling the lost about Christ. And so he says, all authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth as a way to comfort them. And then we looked at the fact that the command in this section, the one verb, the one command in this section is to make disciples. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,” and last week we looked at God’s heart for the nations and then our heart for the nations.
Well, all of those things are on the evangelism side of the great commission. To make a disciple means first to see them be converted, to come to the knowledge of Jesus Christ, to embrace him as Lord and Savior. And so that’s the first part of the great commission.
The second part once they are converted is the, okay, now what for the rest of their lives? Well now then, we teach them to observe or obey all that he’s commanded. And so we’re getting to the second part of that great commission—the life in the body, the life in the church. What do we do once people are converted?
Well, I told you, you can think of the great commission as a coin. Two sides of the same coin. On the one side is evangelism—proclaim the gospel, see them converted. On the other side is then, now as a believer, teach them to observe all that he’s commanded. Well, as you turn the coin, the turning point of that coin is baptism. Kind of in the middle part of that. Now we’re assuming that people have been saved in our preaching of the gospel, and then now they publicly express their allegiance to Jesus Christ and their fellowship into a new community. So we’re kind of turning the page here on this great commission study.
So this morning I want to look at baptism from Matt. 28:19 and a number of other passages, and we’ll call this message The Baptism of a New Disciple. The Baptism of a New Disciple.
Now, I don’t know if you grew up playing sports or anything like that or ever tried out for a sports team. Maybe some of you didn’t make the sports team—I’m not trying to drudge up any bad memories in the past; this is just an illustration—but maybe you did make the sports team. And I don’t know if you were like me, when you got that uniform, you were proud of that uniform. I would get my uniforms before a season, and the night before a first game I would go to bed and put the uniform out on the dresser just so it could be there when I woke up, ready for me to put it on. I was proud of that uniform, proud to be on that team, excited to be on that team.
Maybe some of you don’t really resonate with the sports thing too much, but maybe you can resonate with marriage. Maybe you’re married. You’ve got, I trust, one of these things. A wedding ring. And I doubt that you got married, and then the next day or as soon as the ceremony was over said, oh great, I can finally take this thing off. If you did, that might have been the scene of your first marital fight. I don’t know.
But when you put on that wedding ring, you’re proud to wear that, aren’t you, married people? Yes! There we go! Kalon is proud; I knew he would be. You’re proud to wear that. I mean, you even want people to notice it. So you go to the bank to get some money, and you’re just kind of…tapping it. Because it signifies something. You have a new relationship now that you didn’t have the day before. It signifies something, and you’re proud to wear it.
It not only signifies the new commitment you have, but also the new relationship that you’re in. So it’s a commitment and a relationship, much like baptism. Baptism signifies, I have a new commitment. I once lived for myself, for the world—no longer. I live for Jesus Christ. He is my Lord, he is my King, he is my Master.
It also signifies a new relationship that you’re in. You’re in a relationship now as a believer with the Father, intimately acquainted with the Father, also with the Son, and with the Holy Spirit. And we’ll see that fleshed out in this passage.
1. Baptism signals a new commitment.
So this morning, two signs to which a new believer’s baptism points. Two signs towards which a new believer’s baptism points. And the first sign that a new believer’s baptism points to is, it signals a new commitment. Baptism signals a new commitment.
So let me read, starting in verse 18: “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit’” (Matt. 28:18-19). Baptism signals a new commitment.
Baptism—being dunked, immersed, put under water, brought out—is a public display identifying that a person is now committed to Jesus Christ. Now committed to Jesus Christ. It’s public. It identifies them with Christ, and this is to be done by the church for new disciples.
So remember, Matthew 28 is a command given to the apostles for the church; the church sees to it that new converts are baptized. As soon as they become a convert, dunk ‘em in, get ‘em out, show that they’ve died to their old life, that their sins have died with Christ, they’ve been raised to a new life. It’s a public symbol of a new identity, a new confession they have that Jesus Christ is their Lord.
So once we become disciples, the very next step is baptism, according to this passage. He doesn’t say, make disciples, so see them converted, and then teach them to obey all I’ve commanded. He says, make disciples; baptize them; now teach them to observe all I’ve commanded. Baptism comes early on in the Christian life.
So this passage shows us what we do in making disciples. I told you, the main verb here is “make disciples,” and then the things that follow are going to be the ways that we do that. First, we make a disciple by teaching them to be baptized. Then we teach them to observe all that Jesus has taught us.
So before we go any further, let’s make sure everyone’s on the same page as to what we’re talking about when we say baptism. You might be new to Christianity; you might not know about Christianity. What do we mean by baptizing?
Well here’s a definition: Baptism—to cause to perish by drowning or sinking. That’s a strong definition. To cause to die by drowning or sinking. That’s what baptism is a picture of. I once was a thief, an adulterer, a gossip, a slanderer, prideful, covetous. Whatever it was, I once was identified with this; now I’ve died to that. It’s not that when you become a Christian you add Jesus to your life and he cleans it up a little bit. Your old life is executed, dead, and you’ve been raised to a new life in Christ. It’s a dramatic picture for a reason. So we go down into water as into a grave, and we come up born again in a sense. That’s the picture.
The word was spoken of like a ship that had sunk. The ship was baptized, was perishing, was down in the water. And the fact that when we do this symbol and the fact that when they did this in the New Testament the whole body went down is significant. Because it’s saying my whole self needed to die (Ephesians 2). I was dead in transgressions and sins, but I was raised to a new life in Christ. So we show that symbolically by going down into the water and then coming back up.
So to cause to perish by drowning or sinking. Another further definition: or to dip into water as a cleansing, ceremonial, and initiating rite. Being initiated into Christ and his body.
This started with John the Baptist. In the Old Testament, you would see ceremonial washings and cleansings. They would wash themselves in certain ways before dinner, before meals, and things like that. Well, then when John the Baptist came, he started baptizing people in water, in rivers, and his baptism was connected to a repentance, a confession of sin. So people would come to him saying, I’m unclean; I need to be washed; I need to be made like new; and he would baptize them in the water, and they would come back out of the water. Matt. 3:6 says, “and they were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins.”
Now, from this text (Matt. 28:19), we can gather that baptism is for immature believers. Baptism is for immature believers or new believers.
When I was a pastor previously, I had a number of young people, a number of single adults, young people, high school students even, that would be converted, and they would want to delay baptism until they kind of cleaned themselves up a little bit better and were more presentable or grew in the Lord a little bit. That’s contrary to the Scriptures. We know you’re not perfect yet. We get that. None of us are until we get to heaven. But we’re considered perfect at the moment we’re saved. We get the righteousness of Christ completely. And so baptism is a signal of that. So baptism is for immature believers.
The early church used to confess when they were baptized; they would confess this: They would say, “Jesus Christ is my Lord.” That’s what they would do when they gave a public proclamation of their faith in Christ. They would be baptized, and they would confess Jesus Christ as Lord, master. New commitment that they had.
And this baptism is public. You see that in Acts as soon as they start baptizing members of the church, people in the church, and bring them into the body. This baptism is a public profession. Everybody knows of the new believer’s allegiance.
There are some examples of the fact that baptism is immediate. Acts 2:38: Peter says, “Repent and be baptized.” Peter expected the people hearing the gospel, once they repented of their sins, to repent and then be baptized. It was an immediate expectation.
Paul—you remember the story of Paul, murdering people, persecuting Christians, and then God blinds him on the road to Damascus, blinds him, and he goes off into a home and Ananias is sent to him, and in verse 18 of Acts 9, it says this: Ananias comes to Paul, confirms what was happening was right, because God had told Ananias, yes, the Paul who is murdering everyone—he’s the one that I’ve just saved. And Ananias is kind of scratching his head. It’s as if a member of ISIS had been saved. That’s what happened there. And Ananias comes (Acts 9:18) and it says this: “Immediately something like scales fell from his eyes [Paul was blinded for a time], and he regained his sight. Then he rose and”—started preaching? Started going to the churches? “He rose and was baptized [immediately]; and taking food, he was strengthened.” So baptism happens immediately.
You can see Lydia from Acts 16:15. Lydia—the seller of purple, the fashionista that she was, making these clothes in purple, and just this industrious woman—gets saved because Paul and his associates preached the gospel to her, and she goes to a river, and they baptize her. She didn’t say, okay, well give me a couple years; I really got to learn this Christianity thing. No. It was immediate. Baptism is for immature believers, young believers, new believers.
The Philippian jailer in Acts 16—he’s converted. He’s looking over Paul, and there’s an earthquake, and Paul is released from prison, and this Philippian jailer believes in the gospel that Paul had been proclaiming, and then the jailer and his household—all who heard the word of God, Acts 16 says—were baptized.
The Ethiopian in Acts 8—you know this story; you may. The Ethiopian is on his way back to Ethiopia. He’s got a number of people with him. He’s got a person driving his chariot. He’s got people with him, and he’s reading the Old Testament. He’s reading Isaiah 53, that great prophecy about the slaughtered lamb, the Lamb of God, who was Jesus Christ. He’s reading that; he doesn’t know who it’s about.
God, in his grace, sends Philip. And here’s the account, Acts 8: “And the eunuch said to Philip, ‘About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself, or about someone else?’ [Is Isaiah saying that he’s the lamb, or someone else?] Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus. And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, ‘See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?’ And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the river, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him. And when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away, and the eunuch saw him no more, and went on his way rejoicing” (Acts 8:34-39).
I mean, the eunuch didn’t even know who the Lamb was in Isaiah 53, heard the word concerning Jesus Christ, responded—baptism. Immediately. So that’s the pattern in the book of Acts. It’s for new believers. It’s also the pattern here in Matthew 28. Before they even start learning all that Jesus has commanded, they learn the first command, the first way to be obedient—be baptized.
Now, there are some issues around baptism. We come from a lot of church backgrounds in this group already. A lot of you came from Canyon Prescott Valley. Some of you have moved here from California within the last couple months. There’s a few families that have done that. We’ve got a new family from Kingman. We’ve got people that have come to this church from other areas in Prescott. There’s a lot of different backgrounds. Some of you might have been saved Lutheran. Some of you might have grown up even Roman Catholic. You’ve got all sorts of different backgrounds.
And so as I go through some of these issues regarding baptism, you might say, well, that wasn’t my experience, or that’s not how this church taught. I get that. I went to multiple churches growing up that had different views on baptism. So there are a hundred views out there, so let’s just go through the Scriptures a little bit and just look at some of the baptism issues, all right, just to be on the same page.
So, first of all, a couple issues. One: Baptism does not save. Baptism does not save a person. That’s called baptismal regeneration. We do not teach baptismal regeneration, and even the early church would have taught that that was a heresy, that baptism saves.
1 Corinthians 1:17, Paul says this: “Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” If baptism saved a person, if they believed the gospel, were baptized, and that saved them, Paul would have said, I’ve come to preach the gospel and baptize. But he made a distinction. Baptism was not as high on his list of priorities as preaching the gospel was. Why? Of course because preaching the gospel is what saves. Baptism is a sign that you have been saved.
You also, many of you have heard the story, read the story, heard the account preached about the thief on the cross. The thief on the cross was not baptized. He was saved, and Jesus said, “Today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23:43). No baptism. If baptism was needed for salvation, he would not be with Jesus in Paradise today.
Zacchaeus. You know the story of Zacchaeus—wee little man; a wee little man was he. Remember the song? Zacchaeus, looking for Christ; Christ comes to him, calls him by name. They’d never met before, so I think Christ was looking for Zacchaeus. Christ comes and finds Zacchaeus, and Zacchaeus—what you see in the story of Zacchaeus is repentance.
Remember Zacchaeus? The story starts with the fact that he was a chief tax collector. Lots of money. Chief tax collector. If he was a tax collector, people of his own country wouldn’t have liked him very much. So he’s a chief tax collector, and when he sees Christ, comes into face-to-face contact with Christ, what does he do? He repents. They’re going back to his house, because Christ said, I’m coming to your house today; and Zacchaeus says, stop. Behold. He tells the Lord, behold, listen to me. Zacchaeus tells the Lord, listen to me. If I’ve defrauded anyone of anything, I’m going to pay it back, even more. I’m going to give to the poor four times what I’ve given in the past or what I’ve taken from them. Zacchaeus repents, does a total one-eighty. He used to take from the poor, and now he’s going to give to the poor. That’s called repentance.
So we see repentance in the conversion of Zacchaeus, but what don’t we see? We don’t see baptism yet. And interestingly enough, Jesus says to the crowd on that day after the repentance of Zacchaeus, today, today salvation has come to this house. Without baptism. Baptism is not needed for salvation.
Ephesians 2:4-9: “But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up,” there’s the symbol that baptism shows us, “and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:4-6).
Skipping down to verse 8: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not as a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph. 2:8-9). To say that baptism saves is to hold to works righteousness, that works save. Simply not true.
In the New Testament, you hear that the word of truth, the gospel, the message of Christ is the thing that has the power to save—not baptism. Just a couple references for that: James 1:18; 1 Pet. 1:23; 1 John 3:9. All of those point to the word of truth, the gospel message being the one that has the power, not baptism.
Now, just because baptism does not save doesn’t mean that we should delay it as believers, as new believers. Okay, so baptism in the New Testament was almost synonymous with salvation. Repent; baptized. They come hand in hand. Now baptism doesn’t save, but it was expected of new converts early on, so much so that when the epistles are written by the apostles, they’re writing as if you’ve been baptized. Every Christian’s been baptized. They just take it for granted. The New Testament doesn’t understand an unbaptized believer, other than the thief on the cross or Zacchaeus.
But it’s expected. As soon as Christ went back to heaven, told his apostles this great commission, what you see is people repent and be baptized. Repent; be baptized. Repent; be baptized. It was the pattern. So, we take baptism seriously, not because it saves, but because it’s the first act of obedience for the new believer.
Now, there’s another baptism issue that we can identify. The mode. How should I be baptized? Well, I was sprinkled, and you’re saying dunk into water. Yes, I’m saying dunk into water, but I’m not saying you or anybody else, any pastor, was sinning when they sprinkled you. Okay, that’s not what we’re talking about here. It’s not a sin to do that. But we believe that the Scriptures would teach an immersion for a few reasons.
First, Acts 8:38. I told you that Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch saw water, went down, and they went down into it and then came up from it.
Romans 6:3. Even the word picture is that you are gone down, not sprinkled over. Rom. 6:3: “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?” There’s a picture of going down into the grave in baptism.
Jesus was baptized. Matt. 3:16: “And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water.” It didn’t say he was sprinkled with water; he went up from the water. So the idea is he went down into the river or lake or whatever it was and came up out of it. He went down and came up out of it. “And behold, the heavens were opened to him.” So we would teach that baptism is to be immersed. Even the word baptism, baptizo, is “to immerse.” To immerse, not to sprinkle.
Another issue. Some people wonder, why was Jesus baptized if he never needed to repent? That’s a good question. Why was Jesus baptized and symbolically washed from his sins if he never had any sins? Well, Jesus tells us himself. I read it to you a little bit ago—Matt. 3:13-14: “Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan [there it was, the Jordan River] to John, to be baptized by him. John would have prevented him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by you,‘“ which is what we would all have said if Jesus would have come to us and said, I need to be baptized. We would have said, oh oh oh, you need to baptize me. So John, rightly thinking, said that; and then Jesus tells him, “But Jesus answered him, ‘Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness’” (Matt. 3:15).
Why was Jesus baptized? Because in every single way that you and I are supposed to obey God, he obeyed God. He was demonstrating his righteousness by being obedient to the Father. He did this at the beginning of his earthly ministry. He did everything perfectly. Everything that we should do, he did it perfectly so that he could be our righteousness.
Now, I’m talking a lot about baptism, and there may be some in here who are not even Christians or would not identify yourselves as Christians, and I would say to you, first, I’m glad you’re here. And secondly, I want to show you this picture. The picture of Jesus Christ being baptized is a symbol of what happens in the gospel. Jesus Christ obeyed every single command perfectly while he was on earth. Every single command. You and I have not.
The Bible would even tell us in Eph. 2 that we were dead in transgressions and sins. Col. 1:21 and following would tell us that we were rebels, alienated, hostile in mind. Ps. 2 says that the nations rage against the Lord because they don’t want his rules or his fetters over them. We don’t want this law on our lives, as natural men and women. We don’t want to be obedient to what the Bible says. We would rather do our own thing.
When Jesus came to be baptized, he was demonstrating that he has obeyed in every single way. Here’s the great news about Christianity, which makes it unlike any other religion. Every other religion gets you climbing toward heaven in some way. Christianity teaches first that you can’t do that, because you’ve already been imperfect before the Lord with just one sin. The beauty of Christianity is that God came down from heaven as a man to save you.
2 Corinthians 5:21—listen to this verse: “He [God the Father] made him [Christ—God the Father made Christ] to be sin who knew no sin so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” So, Jesus Christ came to take your sin, and he came to give you perfection. Well, I’m not perfect. I know; that’s the beauty of it. He took your sin; you get his perfection. And so the command now, just like it was in Acts, is to repent of your sin, acknowledge your sin, confess your sin, and believe in that message, and you will be saved. That’s the message.
So if you’re in here, and you’re apart from Christ, not a Christian, I don’t want you going out of here going, oh, maybe I need to be baptized so that I’d become a Christian. No. You repent of your sin, put your faith in Christ, enjoy the forgiveness he gives you, and then you be baptized to show everyone what happened to you. That’s the pattern.
So, I digress to preach the gospel, which I think is a good digression.
Here’s another issue: Believers are baptized, not infants. And some of you may have been baptized as infants. I get that. Some of us grew up in cultures where that was common, and it’s not your fault; you didn’t know what was happening. So that’s okay. But just to kind of give some clarity, New Testament clarity on that—and again I would not even say that that was sinful in any way. Some of you may have that in your background. But it’s clear in the New Testament that believers were the ones who were baptized.
Acts 16:33—the Philippian jailer’s family was baptized, and it says in Acts 16 that the family who heard the word of God. They heard the gospel of God. They knew what they were doing, that family did. They heard the word of God. There is not one command in Scripture for a baby to be baptized. Not one. There’s not one command for a baby to be baptized, only a repentant new believer.
There’s not one example in Scripture of a baby being baptized. Some people might say, well, what about this household or that household? That does not imply babies; it does not say babies, and in fact, in the case of the Philippian jailer, it was those who heard the word of God in that family. They understood.
And again, the early church confession, when they were baptized, they would acknowledge that Jesus Christ is my Lord. They knew what their baptism meant. They understood it. This is a new commitment, a new relationship.
What’s more, the New Testament does teach that family ties don’t save anyone. So just because you’re born into a godly family doesn’t mean, okay, well, then you’re in. It doesn’t mean that.
Paul tells this to the Jewish believers who were even somewhat arrogant toward the Gentiles. They thought, well, we’re the children of Abraham, we’re good, we’re God’s chosen people. Paul makes it clear that that’s not the case. You can’t get into heaven based on your family heritage, even if they somehow gave you some sort of symbol or sign.
Romans 4:1-3: “What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.’”
So if Abraham was saved by works, then he would be able to boast. So if you were saved by just saying, I’m part of Abraham’s line, and I’ve got the symbol of Abraham—I’m good. No. What gets you to heaven is simply faith. Belief. Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.
So those are just some issues surrounding baptism. It was important early on in our church’s life to say what we teach. Canyon Prescott Valley, Canyon Verde Valley—we all agree on the same thing regarding believers’ baptism, and that’s what we hold to. So just to clarify.
But baptism—I don’t want you to miss this—baptism signifies, I’ve got a new relationship. The old me has died. The new me has been raised with Christ. I’m one with Christ. I’ve got a new commitment.
2. Baptism signifies a new relationship to the Trinity.
So, not only does baptism signify a new commitment to Christ as Lord, but it also signifies a new relationship to the Trinity. This is so good. You may have been baptized, and the pastor said, I baptize you in the name of the Father, the name of the Son, and the name of the Holy Spirit. What is that exactly? Is that some sort of magical formula, or is there something behind those words? There’s something behind those words, something very exciting and encouraging. It signifies a new relationship with each one of those members of the Trinity.
So it says, baptize them in the name of, or in the character of. Baptize them, and they are becoming like God. We know that as a Christian, you grow more and more into the image of Jesus Christ. You look more like Christ than you did before you were saved. So you’re becoming more and more like the character of God. A new believer can now do what they were intended to do.
Listen, before salvation, you could not obey the Lord. You could do good things to other people, but they didn’t please the Lord. All of our righteousness (Is. 64:6) was as filthy rags to him. It didn’t impress him, before we were saved. Now, you’ve been converted, accepted by God through his Son’s blood. Now you can be pleasing to the Lord. You can put on Christ. You can do things that are godly things and reflect his character. We can do that.
So when you’re baptized, it’s a symbol, this person was dead and now they’re in a new relationship and they can obey God. They’ve got the power to obey God. That’s encouraging to us. I’ve met a new believer recently who loves to obey now. Before, didn’t so much, wanted their own way. Now, loves to obey. That’s what the Lord Jesus Christ did. He loved to obey. It was his food, his nourishing, to do the Father’s will. We can now do that as believers. Praise the Lord.
He says, baptize them in the name of the Father, of the Son, and the Holy Spirit. This shows that when we are baptized, when we become saved—and baptism being the symbol—we are in a wonderful new union of believers and to each member of the Godhead. You have a special relationship with each member of the Godhead—Father, Son, Holy Spirit.
I want to show you how rich it is. Turn to Ephesians chapter 1. Ephesians chapter 1. Eph. 1:3-14—basically, if you’re a believer, this is your autobiography. Not auto; you didn’t write it. This is your biography. I know what that means. It’s your biography. If you’re a believer, this is what happened to you. And look who the credit goes to. It all goes to God.
But listen, as we read Ephesians 1:3-14, I want you to notice the Trinity working in your salvation. Not just God in general, but each member of the Trinity working for your salvation. Ephesians 1:3-14:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he [Father] chose us in him [Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him [that’s the Father]. In love he [the Father] predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved [that’s Christ]. In him [Christ] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory.
I mean this just keeps going on and on and on. This is what we have because of the Father and the Son. Let’s continue.
In him we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of him who works all things according to the counsel of his will, so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of his glory. In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.
Yeah. The Trinity is for you and—listen—has been since the foundation of the world. And when you’re baptized, it’s a symbol that now you are converted and in relationship to the Trinity. That’s the symbol.
In this passage, we see the Father predestined us in love to be in his Son. We see the Son redeemed us by his love. We see the Spirit seals our salvation with a promise. We’re secure. We’re not going anywhere from him. That’s what we see in this passage.
Turn to John 17. John 17 has been called the high priestly prayer of Jesus where Jesus prays for us. Amazing chapter of Scripture, John 17. In the first part of John 17, Jesus prays for his immediate disciples, the ones around him at the time of his death. And then in verse 20, Jesus Christ prays for Canyon Bible Church of Prescott. He prays for us. Listen to these words:
I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, [So if you believed in the gospel which the apostles passed down to us, Jesus is now praying for you in this passage.] that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me. [Staggering statement.] Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.
There’s a lot of you in me, I in them, them in us; you get that in there? I mean, that’s a lot of good stuff, isn’t it? That’s saying that we are seated at the table of the Trinity. All the love that goes on between the Father and the Son, we are involved in that as believers. We have a new relationship with each member of the Trinity.
There’s a quote from a Puritan named Thomas Goodwin. I want you to listen to what he says here.
Sometimes a man’s communion and conversation is with the one [one member of the Trinity, Father], sometimes with the other; sometimes with the Father, then with the Son, and then with the Holy Spirit; sometimes his heart is drawn out to consider the Father’s love in choosing, and then the love of Christ in redeeming, and so again the love of the Holy Spirit, that searches the deep things of God, and reveals them to us, and takes all the pains with us; and so a man goes from one witness to another distinctly…. We should never be satisfied until all three persons lie level in us, and all make their abode within us [and then listen to this], and we sit as it were in the midst of them, while they all manifest their love unto us.
The Spirit loves you, has worked for your salvation. The Son loves you and has worked for your salvation. The Father loves you and has worked for your salvation. And that’s what we get to enjoy as new believers. And baptism signifies, we’re in a new relationship now. That’s what it does.
This can all be summed up in one verse. You’ve heard of the Corinthian church. Not the greatest church in the world. They had their issues. Paul writes at the very end of the final letter we have to the Corinthians, 2 Corinthians; this is the very last verse. 2 Cor. 13:14—listen to the Trinity for you in this verse. Paul says this, amidst all your struggles, amidst all your sin, amidst all your shortcomings, 2 Cor. 13:14: “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.”
It was important to Paul that you knew that you had a deep relationship with each member of the Trinity, not just God in general. It’s so much richer when you think about what those distinct persons have done on your behalf and what you have in them. The Father—the origin, the authority, the fountain, the initiator, the sender. The Son—the executor of the Father’s will, the treasury of his riches, the fountain of blessings, the worker, the purchaser, the accomplisher. The Holy Spirit—the completer, the finisher, the one who gives us fruit, the applier. We have a relationship with all of them, as they are one together.
So as I mentioned earlier, if you are not a Christian, would not say that Jesus Christ is your Lord, today is a good day for you to enter into that relationship with him. That’s what you have with the Father, the creator of this world, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. So I would encourage you, take whatever sin separates you from God, lay it at his cross, see it forgiven, and then be raised up to a new life with him. Today’s the day for that.
And if you’re a believer, if you’re a believer, my prayer is that you would enjoy your communion with the Trinity, that you would be grateful for all three persons of the Trinity and what they do and have done on your behalf. We’re seated at the table with the Godhead.
And also, if you’re a believer who hasn’t been baptized, this would be a great time to come talk to myself or Brad, the elders, come talk to us about maybe being baptized. When? Where? Let’s talk through your testimony. We’d love to do that, if you have questions about baptism. Andrew, you said this; I came up from this tradition or whatever. Maybe, come talk to me. Come talk to us. We invite that. We would always invite that.
So, if you haven’t been baptized as a believer, please come talk to us or consider that. And, as a believer, let’s not forget the whole tenor of this great commission. He’s calling for us to see new converts baptized.
You know, I’ve heard of churches who pay their pastors more bonuses if they get more people to be baptized. That’s rather sad. It’s rather sad. But, we want more baptisms. We want more people to say, I once was dead, and now I’m alive. Do we not? That’s what we want. So we seek to see people baptized, as they hear the gospel, are baptized, and then we bring them into this body and teach them to observe all that he has commanded us.
You know, you always want to conclude your sermon with something impactful, just so that it drives home what we’ve heard about God and what he calls for us to do, and many times a hymn will do that. A quote will kind of, yeah, that sums it up. We’ll do all of that. But today, by God’s grace, we have a living example of this. I’m going to invite Stephanie up here.
Ladies and gentleman, Stephanie committed her life to Christ on Tuesday afternoon. Can we welcome Stephanie? She didn’t know I was gonna do this until an hour ago, but I thought it would be important for us to see this whole great commission thing actually working. The Lord said he would build his church. He promised that, and he’s doing that one member at a time. He’s doing that.
Stephanie, you were converted Tuesday. Tell us about that please.
Good thing I don’t have stage fright. Yeah, Canyon Bible didn’t let me fail. You know, I’ve been to a lot of churches, and I’ve tried several times to give myself to Christ, and I just never was both feet in. I was always one in, one out. I believed there was a God, but I failed to give my faith to him and believe in him.
So, I was at Canyon Bible Prescott Valley and then heard Pastor Andrew speak, and so I followed him here to Prescott. And I just, I was lost. I was really lost. And one day, I was lost and I didn’t have anything, and I actually reached out to one of our members, Sarah, and she met with me at lunch that day. She didn’t hand my problem off to another elder or anything. She just helped me out. We had lunch, and we talked, and it was the Holy Spirit pulling at me, just knocking at my door, just come, listen, follow me.
And I was still hesitant. I was still hesitant. And I followed her around for two weeks and joined a small group where Pastor Andrew was actually in and a lot of great couples, and they’ve just built me up and, you know, taught the word, nothing but the word.
And then, Tuesday I was at the gym, and I just started crying because I realized that I hadn’t given myself to Christ. This whole time I thought, I’m a Christian, but I hadn’t fully repented. I left the gym in tears and drove to Canyon Bible Prescott Valley because I live over there, and the doors were open. I went in and I walked straight up to the cross and dropped to my knees, and I gave my life to Christ. I repented of all my sins.
It’s easy to admit what you do wrong, but it’s what you do after, whether you choose to walk his path or walk your own like you have been. And I chose to finally follow Jesus Christ and the word and the Holy Spirit and everything, and I just completely gave up. I gave up. I then got to go to a small group and tell everybody what I had done, and I was very proud of it. It was something to be proud of. I was finally on the good team, you know?
And ever since then, I’ve done nothing but wanted to speak the word and tell other people about God and Jesus and what he’s done for us and what he’s done in my life. I thought I could never be forgiven for things I’ve done, but I am. I’m a new person, completely, and I’m ready to be baptized and show everyone that I’m going to die in my sins and come back up with Christ.
Thank you. Thank you, Stephanie.
How to follow that up? I don’t know. Jesus told us to speak the gospel, and she mentioned Sarah. Sarah’s been walking her through the gospel, reading the Bible together. When Stephanie came—I don’t think she’d mind me saying this—she came to small group a couple weeks ago, she was identifying herself as a Christian and saying that in the past she’s tried to do better and do better and become a Christian, and we were identifying, you’re trying to do this on your own. And a Christian is one who believes Matt. 5—blessed are the poor in spirit. Not the ones who have earned their way, but they’re just poor.
And so what you hear about, her kneeling before the cross, it’s not that everyone needs to go find a cross and kneel before it, but that was a great symbol of what’s happened. She kneeled before the cross to acknowledge her sin, and then when she stood up, confession of sin to the only one that can forgive it leads to joy and forgiveness. She stood up washed clean, immediately.
She came to small group that night and told us what happened, and we were just standing around eating cookies, and we were like…. It was wonderful. And then we—Sarah is now going to help her and disciple her and walk her through and teach them to observe all I’ve commanded you. So, this whole great commission thing actually works. We’re excited about that to see those things happen.
One interesting thing is you know, when you’re saved, you get the Holy Spirit immediately, and one of the things the Spirit does is illumines your mind, opens your mind to the word of God, and Stephanie says she went into her car that afternoon and started reading 1 Corinthians randomly, and she was like, I understood it! It’s amazing. Before, she wouldn’t have understood it the same way. Now she understands it.
So, thought you’d be encouraged as a family, a church family, to hear her testimony and what’s happened. I feel like the Ethiopian, okay, where’s water now? So, we’re going to do our best to find a way to get some water here. I know you got water bottles, but we’re for immersion. We’ll get some water here, and we’ll do that soon, Lord willing. Let me pray for us.
Father, thank you for giving us the ability to even have faith. That is not of ourselves. It’s clear in the Bible that repentance and faith are gifts from you. Father, we have repented of our sin and put our faith in you, and now we want to show that off to people, and we want to obey your Bible, every word in it that you’ve commanded for our New Testament church, so we pray that you’d keep us faithful disciples as we make disciples. Thank you for Stephanie and what you’ve done in her life. Thank you for the demonstration of this passage to be on display just as an edification for our church. Lord, we believe when you say you’ll build your church. You’ve continued doing it. We praise you for that.
And now as we partake in your table, the Lord’s table, we thank you that baptism signified our entrance into relationship with you and even a relationship with your church, and now we partake in this table which shows of our continuation with you and our continuation with this body. So Father, if there is any unconfessed sin our heart, we pray that you would forgive us of that as we name that to you, as we acknowledge that and confess that to you. And Father, just like happens to all believers, when we confess our sin, the pain of doing that, I pray that you’d bring joy following that, the joy of forgiveness. Give us happy hearts, knowing that you have taken that sin as far as the east is from the west, and let us enjoy the table that we have before us. I pray this in your Son’s name. Amen.
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