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Sunday, December 30, 2018

[Matt's Messages] "Baptizing the Disciples"

“Baptizing the Disciples”
Following Jesus - The Gospel of Matthew
December 30, 2018 :: Matthew 28:16-20 

Well, I know that we want to get to the testimonies and the dunkings, but first I want to say a few words drawn from Matthew chapter 28, verse 19 this morning before we do.

So, if you would, please turn with me in your Bibles to the end of the gospel of Matthew.

The very last chapter, the very last paragraph, where this whole book we’ve been studying is driving towards.

Matthew chapter 28, verses 16 through 20, especially verse 19.

Because I want to say a word about what is going on up here with all of this water and this dunking and these testimonies and this thing called “Christian baptism.”

What is that?

And what isn’t that?

Whenever I teach my baptism class (and these two have recently gone through it with me), we always start with a little thing where I say what baptism is NOT.

Baptism is NOT necessary for salvation nor saving in itself.

Can you think of anybody in the New Testament who was saved and became a follower of Christ and was NOT baptized?

I can. It’s hard to do, because the normal pattern in the New Testament is to trust in Jesus, become saved, and then get baptized. It happens over and over again in the Book of Acts.

But what about the thief on the Cross?

Did he believe? Yes, he did.

Did his life change? Yes, it did. He went from hurling insults at Jesus to asking Jesus to remember him when He came into his kingdom.

And what did Jesus say? “I’m sorry, buddy, but you never got baptized, so you can’t be saved.”

No, that’s not what He said. He said, “Today, you will be with me in Paradise.”

So baptism doesn’t save you. It’s not magic. It doesn’t transform you from unsaved to saved.

Jesus does that! The amazing grace of Jesus does that through faith in Jesus.

Baptism is not necessary for salvation nor saving in itself.

So why do we do it?

Why are Dottie and Keith doing this today?

Answer: Because Jesus says so.

I love how authentic the Gospel of Matthew is.

If I were writing this, if it was the "Gospel of Matthew Mitchell," I would never have included verse 17. All that stuff about doubt.

“Then the eleven disciples [minus Judas now] went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go [just after he had been resurrected]. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.”

I love that!

Not because they doubted, but because it tells us the real history. Some of them did.

The way I picture it, they are approaching slowly, not quite believing what their eyes are telling them.

“Can Jesus really be alive?”

“I know that He was dead. Can this be true?”

And it is.

Because He speaks. V.18

“Then Jesus came to them [He walks right up them] and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Stop right there.

Do you remember how Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapters 5, 6, 7)?

As One with authority.

Remember the authority we saw Jesus exercise in Matthew chapters 8, 9, 10, 11?

Well, on this side of the resurrection Jesus says that He has ALL of the authority that there is.

And what does King Jesus, with all of that authority command His followers to do?

Go and make disciples.

Go and make more followers of King Jesus.

What has been the title of our sermon series for this last year?

What has been the title of this series we’re doing on the Gospel of Matthew?

First slide every Sunday?

“Following Jesus”

That’s what we’re doing and what we’re helping others to do.

Our first Hide the Word verse for 2018?

Matthew 4:19, “‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.’"

That’s our mission.

That’s what we are here to do.

Make disciples of Jesus Christ under the complete authority of Jesus Christ.

Now, how do you do that?

Well, there’s a lot to it. The Gospel of Matthew has a lot so say here.

But it probably starts with what Jesus started with.

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.”

Turn from your sins and trust in the King.

And how do you mark that?

We come to verse 19.

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations [all people groups around the world], baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit...”

There you go.

That’s what are doing this morning.

We are publicly marking out these 2 people as disciples of Jesus Christ.

And we’re doing it because Jesus said to.

Did you notice who is supposed to be baptized according to verse 19?

Is everyone supposed to be baptized?

No. It says to baptize the disciples. V.19 again.

"Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them [who’s the “them?” it’s the newly made disciples from the nations, baptizing the newly made disciples] in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit...”

Now, both of these people were raised in traditions that performed a rite of “baptism” on them when they were infants. Not just a baby dedication or a baby blessing like we did last week, but baptism that included water.

And Christians have been doing that in various traditions for over a thousand years.

Perhaps you experienced that yourself in a previous church tradition.

And perhaps you believe it to be a biblical practice.

Some of my best friends, including my pastor friends, believe the same way.

And by being baptized today, neither Dottie nor Keith intend any disrespect to their parents or to any of their brothers and sisters in Christ who disagree on this point of theology. They are thankful for those who loved them and took them faithfully to church way back then.

But both of them have come to be convinced of what is called “believer’s baptism” or “disciple’s baptism” which I, too, think is the more biblical practice.

The command given to the apostles and the church in the Great Commission is to make disciples and baptize the disciples.

Not people you want to become disciples.

But those who you believe have become disciples.

We don’t stand up at the Marketplace with Supersoakers and spray folks as they come out from buying their groceries and say, “Hey! You’re baptized!”

No, we tell people about Jesus. They repent of their sins and trust in Jesus and begin to follow Jesus and then we say, “Hooray! You’re a disciple! You need to be baptized as one!”

That’s what we are doing here today.

We believe that these two people are disciples, faith-followers of Jesus Christ.

And they have come to the church and said, “Please mark us out as disciples. We want to go public with our discipleship.

We want to follow Jesus in water baptism.”

Remember when Jesus was baptized in chapter 3?

He did it to identify with us.

We get baptized now to identify with Him! V.19 again.

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them [the disciples] in the name [one name] of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit...”

Interesting isn’t it?

Three names but one name?

What does that remind you of?

Remember Who was there at Jesus’ baptism?

Jesus, the Son.
The Holy Spirit in the form of a dove.
And the Father with His booming voice, “This is My Son whom I love, with Him I am well pleased.”

Now, Jesus says, “Use this name when you baptize these disciples. The name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

Baptism is identifying with the Triune God.

When Dottie and Keith are laid back into the water, they are identify with the Triune God, especially with the Son of God in His death and resurrection.

Buried into His death.
Resurrected into His life.

This, of course, is not the END of their discipleship but a symbol of its beginning.

I’ll let them tell their own stories, but both of them have actually known the Lord for some time.

They just have never told the world in the way that Jesus here commands.

And they want to fix that.

So they are getting baptized.

But this is a symbol of their discipleship.

Because Jesus doesn’t stop with their baptism, and neither should the church.

Because verse 20 follows verse 19.

“...baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, AND teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you...”

That’s what a disciple does.

A disciple learns to obey everything Jesus says to do.

Not just the stuff that we want to do.

Everything.

Even take up our own crosses.

That’s our current Hide the Word verse. Isn’t it? Matthew 16:24

“Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.’”

These two have counted the cost of discipleship and have said, “Count me in.”

It will not always be easy.

They will also not be alone.

Because Jesus ended verse 20 by saying, “And surely I am with you ALWAYS, to the very end of the age.”

Dottie and Keith, as you take this step of discipleship, and this church affirms your discipleship, you can know that you are never going to be alone.

We will walk with you in following Jesus.

And more importantly, Jesus will walk with you, ALWAYS to the very end of the age.

Let’s pray for these two as they come up here and then they can share their stories with us.

And then unbeknownst to them, I’ve also asked a couple of their friends and loved ones to share a little a testimony of what they have seen of God’s work in their lives.


***

Previous Messages in This Series:

01. The Genealogy of Jesus
02. The Birth of Jesus Christ
03. The Search for Jesus Christ
04. The Baptism of Jesus
05. The Temptation of Jesus
06. Following Jesus
07. Jesus' Sermon on the Mount
08. The Good Life (Part One)
09. The Good Life (Part Two)
10. You Are The...
11. Jesus and the First 2/3 of the Bible
12. But I Tell You
13. But I Tell You (2)
14. But I Tell You (3)
15. In Secret
16. Choose Wisely
17. Seek First His Kingdom
18. Generous
19. These Words of Mine
20. When He Saw the Crowds
21. When He Came Down from the Mountainside
22. Follow Me
23. Our Greatest Problem
24. Who Does He Think He Is?
25. Special Agents
26. Sheep Among Wolves
27. What To Expect On Your Mission
28. Are You the One?
29. Come to Me
30. The King of Rest
31. So Thankful!
32. Overflow
33. This Wicked Generation
34. Get It?
35. What Is Really Going On Here?

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