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Remember your baptism

Jerry Varnado, pastor
Gateway Church, Athens GA

January 8, 2006

  • Main Scripture text: Mark 1:4-11.

  • It's important to remind ourselves why we do the things we do in the church. If we don't, eventually they become meaningless formalities.

  • In the Methodist church we call baptism a sacrament, which is defined as the "outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace.

  • Let's look to what the Father says to Jesus at His baptism -- for in those words we find the essence of baptismal grace that's available to us.

  • First He says, "You are my Son..."


Belonging is a basic human need.


Many emotional problems are rooted in alienation.


Family is therefore the foundation of human society.

In Christ, we are adopted into God's family.

Often this is the beginning of the end to emotional distress and the beginning of the rebuilding of our self-worth and moving again toward wholeness.

  • The second thing the Father says: "...whom I love."


Love is also a basic human need. Here's good news: God doesn't love us because we are good and holy. Rather, He loves in spite of the fact that we're neither!


Romans 5:8: "God demonstrates his love for us in this, while were still sinners Christ died for us."


Unconditional love is liberating. Unconditional, sacrificial love wields great power in human life. That's why God chose it as the means to redeem the human race.

If we love unconditionally, the relationship is not destroyed by mistakes; rather the mistakes draw us closer.

A relationship founded upon unconditional love will endure when all others fail.

  • Finally the says to Jesus, "With you I am well pleased." Jesus was just beginning His time of ministry, so why was the Father so pleased at this point in time?

  • By submitting to the baptism of John, Jesus was:


Embracing His humanity. According to God's plan of redemption, Jesus had to identify with the human condition. Though He was without sin, He identified with those who came to turn from the sinful ways.


Submitting to the Father's plan. Jesus listened to the Father's voice and submitted to the path that the Father had determined must be taken.


Surrendering His human will to the Father's will. Jesus is embarking on a journey that would be painful, and that eventually would bring Him to the Cross.

He made the choice to surrender his life to the Father's will. And in baptism, he received the grace to follow that will.

  • Remember your baptism today.

  • Make the choice for that baptism to mean what it's supposed to mean -- that by the grace of God you are confessing and receiving Jesus as Savior and Lord of your life; that you are committing your life to His plan; that you are surrendering your will to His will.

  • If you do that in earnest, by faith, God is saying to you: "You are my son, my daughter. I love you -- and with you I am well pleased."

Supporting texts: Romans 5:8 | Revelation 3:19 | Matthew 26:39

A mp3 audio file of this sermon is here (39 min.).
(Download to a PC by right clicking on the link and choosing "Save Target As." Mac users: click, hold, and choose "Download Link to Disk." Depending on your connection speed, the file may take several minutes to download.)

An audio tape of the sermon summarized above
is available free of charge (U.S. requests only).

Request a tape by
calling or writing the Gateway Church office.
Please specify tape number 060108a: Remember Your Baptism.

© 2006 Gerald R. Varnado

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