Baptism – significance – meaning


Romans 6:4 - “We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”


Identify with Christ's death and resurrection, admit to God that you need Him and that you want the old self gone and a new self to come. It's part of the natural progression for a Christian.


Jesus was baptized, commanded disciples to baptize others (in Matthew 28). When the apostles preached and there were new believers many of them were baptized too (in Acts).


Compare to circumcision


A sign of a covenant. (Genesis 17), God talking to Abraham. Giving him a promise, and told Abraham to do circumcision as symbol of his commitment. To distinguish the Jewish people from other religious groups or tribes in that land.


And outward gesture or symbol to set the people apart, to be different "holy"


Look closely in the Bible you'll see the God is not interested in only what is outward, or physical acts.


Colossians 2:11-12 - “When you came to Christ, you were "circumcised," but not by a physical procedure. It was a spiritual procedure--the cutting away of your sinful nature. For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to a new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead.”


When I was baptized – nothing changed overnight, no physical transformation. Nothing magical about the water. The water is not special, the water is not what saves us. Jesus Christ is the only one that can save us. But looking back on it, I see that it was a beginning. It was a start to a long life journey where I learned what it means to follow Christ day by day little by little. God will honor and bless that commitment, that is what makes it special.


Circumcision of the heart, Romans 2:28-29

"A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man's praise is not from men, but from God.


God looks at the inside of a person. He looks at the heart. Not just outward appearance or outward acts.  This is not only stated in the New Testament, it is also addressed in the Old Testament. God gave the Jews many commandments to keep them safe and separated from the rest of the world. He commanded them to make sacrifices and offerings, but they should have been reflections of the heart—stems from our inside. God is more interested in the inside—our hearts.


Samuel reprimanding Saul in 1 Samuel 15:22

"Does the LORD delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the voice of the LORD ? To obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed is better than the fat of rams."


Psalm 51:16,17

You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.


Today – Christians need to be set apart and different from other religious groups through the way we live, the inward things in our lives.


As a baptized Christian, your life should show that you are no longer the same anymore, that you are now different from those people who are not Christians. As a Christian, how can you set yourself apart from the rest of the world? Live like Jesus, to walk as Jesus did.


1 John 2:6 Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.

That is how you can be different from the world, and how the world will know that you are different.


Seeking eternal things


The way Jesus lived – he always had an eternal perspective. He knew things of this world were temporary. Human sinful nature is to focus on things of this world, but as Christians we have a higher calling, to focus on heavenly and eternal things.


Colossians 3 – "set your minds on things above, not on earthly things"


Romans 12:2

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world


Conversation with a kid non Christian (Trevor) about what's important in life. After a few minutes of talking we both agreed that most people in this world run after rich and fame and fortune. Many rich and famous people end up giving their money away (Bill Gates given away $29 billion in his lifetime, Warren Buffet gave away $30 billion worth of stock to Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), many famous people have problems with alcohol abuse, drug abuse, depression, in and out of rehabilitation centers.

Instead we both agreed that life is about relationships – the importance of family and friendships. Ultimately – relationship with God. Fame and fortune will pass away eventually, but relationships are eternal. The happiest and most content kids are the not the ones with wealthy families, it's the ones that feel loved and accepted. The ones that are caring, the ones that are generous, those are the happy kids.


As Christians we shouldn't identify with things of this world.


Philippians 3:20

But our citizenship is in heaven.


You are a child of God, a citizen of Heaven. That is your identity. You should not identify with the world. Reading a book for my class in sociology, talked about people's identity. Many people have many different identities and roles, like actors in a play. They juggle between the roles, switching back and forth depending on their surroundings, depending on their environment. This may seem fine, but what happens is many of these roles are only temporary, and they can easily or suddenly change or can be taken away. Kid who identifies as a good student, what happens if they don't get into the college they really wanted? Kid who identifies with sports, what happens if they get injured and can't play anymore? Kid who identifies boyfriend/girlfriend, what happens if that doesn't work out? I've seen all these cases, kids get frustrated, devastated, sadden when crucial parts of their identity is suddenly gone.

The book said the people who are most successful in life or most satisfied with life are those that have one overarching role that encompasses all the roles beneath it. This was not a Christian book, but I immediately thought of Christians, and the comfort we can have knowing that our identity in Christ can permeate throughout every part of our lives.

If we put our trust in God and hold our identity as his children, God will not fail us or let us down, that identity will not be taken away.


To keep our focus away from the worldy things - Jesus said it would be difficult, but regardless, it is something Christians must do.


John 15:19 Jesus speaking to his disciples

"As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you."




The world will know through your humility. As Christians, you must be humble. The world is proud. I think it is human nature to have a lot of pride and to protect it at all costs.


My students – a lot Talking back – "trash talking." Always try to talk big, and out-do one another, even if it's just by talking. Just argue and talk back and argue. Sometimes it seems like they are just fighting over who is the better trash-talker. No one wants to step back, no one wants to show any sign of perceived weakness. That is what the world says.


Look at the book of Matthew:

-Matt 18:3-4 - I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

-Matthew 23:12

For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

-Matthew 5:5

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.


Ephesians 4:2

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.


When I was first driving 6 or 7 years ago, I was not humble at all. Making gestures, giving dirty looks, trying to cut people back. But I realized that #1 it was dangerous, and #2 it was pointless, there was not satisfaction in doing that, it never made things better, it didn't accomplish anything.


Unconditional love, love for "enemies," a radical love


Love one another, that the world may know


John 13:34,35 A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."


Focus on the gospel of John. The word love used 75 times in the gospel books (89 chapters), 12 of those times are within 2 chapters of John (14-15)


John 14:15

"If you love me, you will obey what I command.


John 14:21 "Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him."


John 14:23

Jesus replied, "If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.


John 15:12

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.


John 15:17

This is my command: Love each other.



1 John 5:2 This is how we know that we love the children of God: by loving God and carrying out his commands.


This love is "radical" – meaning strange, not normal, different. Not what the world expects. If everyone eats cereal with a spoon, but you eat it with a knife, that is a radical idea. That is radical. Same with love, the world only teaches a easy type of love.


Jesus set the example when he died for us.

1 John 3:16 This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.


1 John 4:9-11 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.


Conversation with (Claire), non-Christian kid who always seemed to have drama going on. Coming in gossiping, talking about what just happened, and who said what. Never ending. Finally ask her why there is so much drama, how is that possible, she said "people do bad things to me, people make me angry, people say things about me." So she retaliates or seeks revenge. But it's not satisfying because it never ends. It never solves anything, so I asked her if she ever thought the problem lied within her, that it's not other people's fault, but she should look at herself first.  I said it starts with being nice to people, and she said she is nice to people, people that are also nice to her. I told her that's the easy way out. And I challenged her to do what's difficult. But so many people live that way, taking the easy way out, being nice only to other nice people, and have too much pride to be able to be a victim of wrongdoing without striking back. She found it too hard to do, it was too radical.


Luke 6:32-36"If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even 'sinners' do that … But love your enemies, do good to them,  … Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.


John 13:34,35 A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."


Co-worker comments on the art displays in the school, " most of the pieces are very sad, very dark, it seems like the kids have no hope."  The world is hopeless


You have hope that one day it won't be like this anymore. One day when Jesus comes back it will be normal to think of eternal things, and to live humbly and to live with love. We have the hope that one day the world as we know it will be revolutionized and transformed, and you need to spread this hope to others, going back to Matthew 28, Jesus command to go out and make disciples of everyone in all nations, and baptizing them in the name of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit so that they too can have lives full of joy and hope.


Many people see being a Christian has having a ticket to get into heaven.

I see it as more of having a passport. A passport shows your citizenship, your identity. And it gives you permission to go places. Now that you are baptized, and you want to make a commitment to follow Christ as your Lord and Savior, yes, you have been authorized to enter Heaven now, but what will your journey there be like? Heaven is the destination, but for now, God has placed us here on earth. Not every Christian's journey is going to be the same. Are you going to just sit around having your passport? Of will you make the most out of every moment of your journey and live a life that is for Jesus?