Baptism and Baptism, Luke 3, January 14th 2024

Baptism and Baptism, Luke 3, January 14th 2024

Sermon. Baptism.

Luke 3:15-17, 21-23a and 4:1

What does baptism, make you think of?

We are thinking of baptism and baptism.

  1. Jesus is baptised.

This marks the start of Jesus public ministry.

In the Christian church, baptism becomes a mark of the new covenant.

The Anglican church defines a sacrament as an outward sign of inward and spiritual grace.’’

Baptism is a sacrament. It is a sacrament given by Christ’s command.

At the end of Matthew’s gospel, as part of his commissioning given to the apostles, Jesus says: ‘’All authority on heaven and earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising 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. And surely I am with you always to the end of the age.’’

And the church embraced this sacrament. On the day of Pentecost, as the gospel is preached, Peter is asked by the crowd who know their need of God… ‘’Brothers what shall we do? ‘’ Peter says: ‘’Repent and be baptised everyone one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off – for all whom the Lord our God will call.’’

It says -Peter kept preaching and ‘those who accepted his message were baptised.’’

And this is not something connected only to the start of the church.

Acts 8 for example, the Ethiopian eunuch. After Philip has preached the gospel to him, the eunuch himself says: Look, here is water! Why shouldn’t I be baptised?’ And the chariot was ordered to stop and Philip there and then baptised him.

Acts 10 – Peter preaches at the home of the Roman centurion Cornelius. The Spirit falls on them. Peter sees these signs as only possible due to a true acceptance of Christ. Peter says ‘’Can anyone keep these people from being baptised with water? They have received the Holy Spirit just as we have. So he ordered that they be baptised …’’’

And finally Paul. In Philippi. Lidia believes the good news about Jesus and it says: The Lord opened heart to respond to Paul’s message… She and the members of her household were baptised.’’

And in prison in same city – Acts 16 – the jailer asks Paul and Silas what he must do to be saved – Paul says: Believe in the Lord Jesus, you will be saved – ‘you and your household’. Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night, the jailer and his family were baptised. He was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God, he and his whole family.’’

The sacrament of baptism became part of the life of the church. The outer sign – water and baptism in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

The Anglican church – of which All Saints is a part – believes in infant baptism. A baby or young child is baptised and then the godparents and parents speak for that child, looking to the day when that child will publicly declare their own faith and own what was said over them. That event of publicly declaring their own faith is called confirmation. This is the general practice of All Saints.

However,  there are parts of the Christian church, who do not perform infant baptism.

Parts of our church of All Saints today, believe it is important to allow their children to make their own choice to be baptised. Therefore parents will often in a ceremony dedicate their children to God –and then, when the teenagers or adults come to faith in Christ, they would be baptised…

Now. All Saints is an Anglican Church and also it is an international church. There are quite a few members of our lovely community who are not from an Anglican church or perhaps not from a tradition where children are baptised. 

Firstly we need to always recognise our differences on this matter.

It is not a sin to have a child baptised

and it is not a sin to not have a child baptised.

Secondly, it is therefore completely fine to be part of All Saints, to be members of this community, if your children have not been baptised and you are waiting and praying for the day when your teenager or adult son or daughter will choose to be baptised. It is fine.

Thirdly, we are an international church – a small glimpse of what Christ was praying for, that people from different denominations can worship together, and see what unites is so much more greater than what divides. 

That invites us to consider, in our worship and practices, how we can be inviting and welcoming to all.

For me, one part of our welcome is to simply say:

if a family has a child, if they would like to have their child baptised,

of course.

But, if a family has a child and they would like to dedicate their child and not baptise,

Then I believe I can say –  we / I am happy to do that dedication here as well.

You may ask, well do Anglican churches do dedication. Yes, I know there are churches and clergy, including myself, who have led a dedication ceremony in England and I can imagine across Europe, there are many chaplaincies who have held an act of dedication for a child within their worship.

Now, confirmation.

In the Anglican tradition. Confirmation is that point when a teenager or adult, baptised as a child, declares their faith. They take on the baptismal promises said when they were baptised.  If you look at the liturgy used in an Anglican confirmation, it is clear, a person is not declaring faith in a denomination, or stating agreement with a confessional faith.

It is a simple powerful moving act of declaring your faith in Christ through a series of questions which the Bishop asks; and then the Bishop – representing the wider church – will lay on his hands and pray for the Holy Spirit to come upon you.

The Holy Spirit already resides in every Christian as Peter reminded everyone in Jerusalem. You can say that the Bishop is praying for a fresh filling, renewing, empowering in the Spirit. As Jesus is filled and led, they pray the same for someone confirmed.

So confirmation is primarily about declaring faith publicly; being prayed for to receive the Spirit and committing yourself publicly to be a disciple of Christ.

So, March 3rd – though this sermon is not a promo for that event but we should mention it.

March 3rd – if you were not baptised before. Perhaps you were dedicated as a child; or perhaps you have come to saving knowledge of Jesus – like Lidia in Philippi, like the crowd members in Jerusalem – I invite you to pray and consider if now is the time to be baptised. Like the Ethiopian eunuch – here is water, what is there to stop me being baptised?

And again, if you were baptised as a child. And have not been confirmed. Is now the time to declare your faith, to confirm what was said over you. This is being offered on March 3rd.

As I have said, I will begin baptism and confirmation preparations on Thursday 25th.

I need to make a clarification as it was asked. Where will the baptism happen – it will happen here – in Kosmik, or if we have moved, in WvM. Baptism within the community of All Saints.

The confirmation will take place at Ansfridus kerk that afternoon.

Anglican practice is that if an adult is baptised, they are also confirmed. So those baptised in the morning will be confirmed also in the afternoon…

Spirit Baptism.

The second part of this message is much shorter.  But also on baptism.

What titles come to mind when we think of Jesus?

Well John the Baptist gives us one – Spirit baptiser – ‘’he will baptise you with the Spirit.’ 3:16 in Luke.

Jesus is the Spirit baptiser. Before his Ascension, Jesus told his followers: ‘’I am going to send you what my Father has promised, but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.’’

In Acts 1, Jesus says: Do not leave Jerusalem but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptised with water, but in a few days you will be baptised with the Holy Spirit.’’

As Jesus commands baptism with water, he also promises baptism in the Spirit. Water and the Spirit.

We may receive the mark of the covenant, the sacrament of Baptism, but Jesus focus is also – you will receive the Spirit as a Christian, and you are to seek his empowering…

The word ‘baptismo’ means usually to submerge or drench. So with some of the heavy rain we had in November, you could have walked outside and said you were baptised by the rain cloud! Also, in ancient literature the word could be used when a ship was sunk. So an ancient writer could say Titanic was baptised by the ocean.

The vision Jesus is communicating I think – a baptised Christian is to be a Spirit filled Christian. That is the goal. He uses deliberately that word ‘baptism’ – drenched, submerged.

For those here who are baptised, confirmed.

This passage of Jesus and connected verses says to us – seek to be drenched, submerged in the Spirit.

Paul teaches the Ephesians: they are children of God, they have been sealed with the Spirit, Paul is praying for them, they are spiritually alive and yet he also says in Ephesians 5 – be filled – in present continuous tense – so it means, be filled, and keep on being filled. Suggests we leak! 

So as the baptised or confirmed, do we seek that baptism, that daily drenching.

I love what a Messianic Jewish writer says about Ephesians – he says being filled is like wind filling a sail; Bishop Keith Sutton of the Diocese I came from in England described being filled, as like a hand filling a glove.

So application application!

First. Maybe we have some snow this week – or soon. When you put on your gloves, or when you are skiing in February vacation – when you put on your gloves. Say a prayer – Lord would you fill me afresh with your Spirit as my hand fills this glove…  And if we are daily putting on gloves, what a great prayer.

Or you sail – as the wind fills the sails of your boat,

Lord, fill me, as this wind fills this sail.

Second. The Spirit descends. Luke 4:1-2 described the effect – Jesus is filled and he is led.

Luke is keen to show us, that Jesus ministers not out of his divinity but his humanity. So he becomes a model to each of us, how to live, serve, witness, love in this world.

If he did it all in his divinity we could say, ‘well he is God and I am human’ ; but he does what he does out of his humanity and he is empowered by the Spirit and so he shows us what we can do.

So in this service, as you prepare to receive bread and wine I invite you – pray for God’s Spirit to descend afresh on you… so you may be filled and led.

If you feel you want to pray with someone else – we have a prayer ministry team who will pray this for you…

or you are sitting by someone you love and trust, during the serving of Communion, ask them to lay a hand on you and pray for a fresh filling for you…

In Luke 11, Jesus is teaching on prayer, and he says ask, seek, knock, the Father gives good gifts….ends by saying  ‘’how much will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.’’

Jesus invites us, opens it to all, and he declares God wants to give the Spirit and Jesus desires us to be each submerged / drenched.


Jesus,  baptised.

Is now the time to declare your faith and trust in Christ? And to be baptised, joining billions who have been baptised down through the ages?

If you have been baptised, is now the time to be confirmed?

To declare publically what was said when you were a child or baby? Are you ready?

Jesus Spirit baptiser.

For those baptised / confirmed –

Shall we seek again today, that fresh filling of the Spirit, and to be led by the Spirit,

as modelled by Jesus and is his desire for us?

Shall we pray. 

A simple prayer…

Heavenly father

At the Jordan, you revealed Jesus as your Son: Pause..

May we recognise him as our Lord, Pause..

Know ourselves to be your beloved children Pause..

And be filled again with your Holy Spirit. Pause…

Through Jesus Christ our Lord.