By Dr. Dave Schmidt
Scripture: I Cor. 1:4-18
For nearly 2000 years Christians have celebrated Jesus’ baptism on Sunday after Epiphany. For many this was time for baptism; for others it a time to renew baptisms.
Today we will offer a time to remember and renew your baptisms.
Christians oft debate about baptism—when and how? Infant/adult; immerse/sprinkle
This may have been part of divisions at Corinth? Faces another question, Why?
Apollos knew John’s baptism—a baptism for cleansing from sin.
Paul et al spoke of baptism in Jesus’ name—a baptism of identification.
John came baptizing and calling for repentance; washing clean as Jewish custom/mikveh.
He spoke of another—when Jesus came to join the focus shifted to becoming part
In Jesus’ great commission he called followers to mark disciples by trinity baptisms
A baptism of water and of fire/Spirit. Poured out by grace, not human act.
So why be baptized today—John’s baptism or Christ’s?
I offer a Methodist understanding.
We are baptized into the body of Christ, sharing in his death and resurrection by grace.
We are using a sacramental symbol to proclaim God’s grace, not earned—given
So when can be from infancy on. How is not key, but why?
We don’t get caught in the mechanics, but in the grace given.
We also know that we sin and fall short of living in this new family relationship.
So we offer times for confession of sins, renewal of awareness of God’s grace & promise
Confirmation is time for infants to confirm for themselves awareness from infancy
Renewal is offered again and again for us to recover our awareness of this grace.
We don’t get rebaptized; God didn’t fail in bestowing grace.
Instead we need to recover and renew awareness of this grace given.
For those baptized, Remember your baptism and be thankful
For others, you are invited to see the gift offered to all people.
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