Matthew 3:13-17

In the 1994 movie, “The Lion King,” Semba, the lion cub, was forced away from his home and he eventually forgot his calling.  Thanks to Rafiki, the baboon, Semba reclaimed his calling and found his purpose.

Rafik took him down to a pool of water and told him to look into it and there he would see his father.

Semba was skeptical because his father was dead.  At first, he just saw his reflection in the water, but then he began to hear his father’s voice speaking to him from the heavens, reminding him of who he was and the unique calling he had in life.

From that day on, Semba was inspired, and he decided to become all that he was meant to be, the King of the Jungle.

One of the most important moments or days or times in anyone’s life happens when we realize who we are.

Last Sunday in the Reach service we sang, “I Am a Child of God.”  The day we affirm that each of us belongs to God and that God has a purpose in mind for each of us, that is a special day.

When you realize that out of the billions of people that are in this world, God knows you by name and has mad you for a purpose, that is the day you should never forget.

I was ten years old when God began stirring those thoughts inside of me.   I asked the Lord into my life and asked him to forgive me of my sins.  I was baptized in a small pool with moss growing on the sides.  It was fed by a spring that flowed at the bottom of the hill at our church.

The next summer, at age eleven, I shared with my church that I believed God was calling me to be a preacher.   Then as a senior in high school, God reaffirmed that calling on my life.  So I know that God’s Spirit works even in the lives of children and teenagers.

Jesus felt a special calling on his life and he understood the unique person he was.

He heard that John the Baptist was baptizing people in the Jordan River, and Jesus wanted to be baptized.

Even Jesus wanted God’s affirmation.

I suppose you could say that Jesus was baptized in the wild because the Bible says that John the Baptist was preaching in the wilderness of Judea.

When John saw Jesus coming to him to be baptized, he said, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”

Jesus said, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.”  Then John consented.

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water.  At that moment, heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting on him.  And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love, with him, I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:13).

For God to know Jesus may not be so surprising, but it’s a wild thought that God would know each of us.

Wilder still is the thought that God can live and reside within each of us through His Spirit.

I don’t know a wilder concept than that.

When you come to believe that wild truth and come to a point where you can say, “It’s happened for me.  God lives within me.  Not because of anything good that I’ve done, but because I invited Jesus into my life, to forgive me of my sins and to help me live a life of goodness,” that’s when you should be baptized.

  1. Baptism is your public statement that you are not ashamed of Jesus and that Jesus has saved you from your sins.

Soon it will be football season, and football fans are not shy about identifying with their teams.

A lot of people will fly the team flag on their car, especially during game day.  Why?  Because they are not ashamed of their team.

32 “If you stand before others and are willing to say you believe in me, then I will tell my Father in heaven that you belong to me. 33 But if you stand before others and say you do not believe in me, then I will tell my Father in heaven that you do not belong to me” (Matthew 10:32-33).

When you are baptized, you are saying to everyone in a public way, “I belong to Jesus.  I am not ashamed to be a disciple of Jesus.”

  1. Baptism celebrates what God has already done in your heart.

Every time you have a birthday party, you are not being born all over again, but you are celebrating the day that you were born.

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Baptism is about announcing to others that God is up to something new in your life.  He has given you a fresh start and a fresh perspective.  God has changed your heart.  That cannot be overlooked.

  1. Baptism celebrates what God is going to do with your life.

When Semba heard his father’s voice as he looked into the pool of water, he began to see what he could become and not just what he was.

Matthew’s gospel says that “As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water.  At that moment, heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him (Matthew 3:16).

Jesus sought baptism at the beginning of his ministry because he was thinking about the ministry he was going to have.   What was he going to become?  Jesus was seeking God’s blessing and affirmation as he began that journey.

Baptism celebrates what we can become with the Spirit of God leading our lives.

Over the years, I have been surprised about how hesitant people are about being baptized, but now I understand that it takes some humility to step into the baptismal waters.  The older we get, the more humble we have to be.

We are a bit vulnerable there.  We give up control to a pastor or friend that dunks us under the water.  We stand sopping wet before our family and friends.

With that humility, we are saying, “know that with the Spirit of God leading me, I will become more than I could ever by trying to live this life in my strength.”

Just as we need water to survive, our baptism says, “I need Jesus to become all that I’m meant to be. I need help to live this life –God’s help.”

If you have never been baptized, I have three questions for you this morning?

1)    Are you ashamed of Jesus?  Jesus said, “If you stand before others and are willing to say you believe in me, then I will tell my Father in heaven that you belong to me.”

2)    Have you asked Jesus into your heart?  If you haven’t baptism will not help you.  First, you must repent of your sin, and ask Jesus into your life.   If you have, then you should follow the command of scripture and be baptized.  You should celebrate the change that has taken place in your life.

3)    Do you trust Jesus to give you purpose and to use you in a special way?  Our baptism celebrates that God places a calling on each life and will use us as He has planned as we submit to Him.

During this invitation this morning, as the Holy Spirit speaks to you, if you want to come and seek baptism, Andy and I will be here to greet you.

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